Schwannomas are benign tumors that can sometimes grow to a substantial size. Cranial nerve (CN) schwannomas involve the nerves of the head & neck region. One of the only known risk factors for these tumors is a rare genetic disorder.
The signs and symptoms of cranial nerve schwannomas depend on what nerve is affected. Symptoms can include chronic burning facial pain, eye muscle deficits, facial muscle weakness, or hearing loss.
Diagnosis of any of the cranial nerve schwannomas is typically by history, physical exam findings, and imaging. Imaging routinely involves a dedicated skull base MRI.
Treatment options are usually tailored to the needs of the patient, including observation with serial imaging, stereotactic radiation with Gamma Knife or CyberKnife, or surgical resection.