Nerve Tumors (Schwannomas) Specialist

Anthony Echo, MD -  - Plastic Surgeon

Anthony Echo, MD

Plastic Surgeon & Reconstructive Surgeon located in Houston, TX

Nerve tumors called schwannomas can develop on many different nerves throughout your body. These tumors are nearly always benign and can be surgically removed by Anthony Echo, MD, an expert in microsurgery and peripheral nerve surgery. Whether you develop a suspicious lump, pain, or symptoms traveling along a nerve, Dr. Echo provides exceptional treatment for nerve tumors. Schedule an appointment online or call one of the offices in Houston Methodist Hospital or the Willowbrook neighborhood in Houston, Texas.

Nerve Tumors (Schwannomas) Q&A

What are nerve tumors?

The most common peripheral nerve tumors, called schwannomas, originate in the Schwann cells that form the protective myelin sheath surrounding each nerve.

Schwannomas are nearly always benign, with less than 3% turning cancerous. However, they can get large enough to push against the nerve and cause nerve damage, pain, and other symptoms.

As peripheral nerve tumors, schwannomas can develop on any peripheral nerve in the body.

What symptoms develop due to a schwannoma?

The symptoms you develop vary depending on which nerve is affected and whether the tumor is large enough to cause problems. In some cases, the schwannoma is found incidentally on an imaging study for another issue. 

As a group, schwannomas cause symptoms such as:

  • Swelling or a noticeable lump under your skin
  • Pain, tingling, or numbness along the nerve
  • Weakness in the area served by the nerve
  • Loss of function in the area served by the nerve

How are nerve tumors treated?

If your benign tumor is small or in a difficult location, Dr. Echo may recommend monitoring its growth with routine MRIs. He may recommend removing the tumor in the future when it gets large enough to cause symptoms.

However, if you are diagnosed with a schwannoma and experience pain, weakness, or loss of sensation, then surgery is recommended. Having a skilled peripheral nerve surgeon, like Dr. Echo, is necessary to not injure the nerve and safely remove the tumor. 

It is critical that you have a microsurgeon familiar with these tumors, perform the surgery. Inexperienced or general surgeons, do not know how to safely remove the tumor and can cause permanent damage. Since schwannomas are encapsulated and confined to one area, Dr. Echo can use a microscope and very fine instruments to excise the entire tumor. 

Biopsies are not usually necessary or recommended for small tumors since the actual biopsy may injure the delicate nerve fibers. If the tumor is large and extensive, biopsies may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis before surgery. 

If you have been diagnosed with a schwannoma, call Anthony Echo, MD, or book an appointment online.