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Acoustic Neuroma
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Acoustic Neuroma

On a day in December 2001 I suddenly felt very feint and needed to sit down. During February 2002 I experienced clumsiness of gait and difficulty in walking a straight line. My Doctor diagnosed labyrinthitis and prescribed an antihistamine. The medication did not cure the problem and was discontinued. The balance problem cleared sometime later without medication.

In the meantime I was referred to a hospital ENT clinic and was treated with steroid nasal sprays in an attempt to cure chronic nasal mucus. The sprays did not cure the problem.

I also underwent hearing tests; my hearing was good, and a balance test where air was pumped into each ear in turn. I also was asked to track a moving light source first horizontally then vertically. The tests did not detect any underlying problem.

During 2004 I experienced what I thought to be an ear infection with fullness but no pain and no tinnitus at that time. My Doctor could not detect an ear infection and nothing was prescribed.

During  September 2005 I began to experience, when swallowing food, a dizzy sensation from my palate to the back of my skull and in January 2006 the fullness in my ear returned along with tinnitus. At the hospital a hearing test in October 2006 revealed loss of higher frequency in my right ear. The Consultant arranged an MRI scan and an acoustic neuroma (1.4cm) was detected in March 2007.

I was referred to a skull based surgeon who decided to monitor the tumour and arranged a further MRI scan for September 2007. The tumour, 1.5cm approximately, had barely grown. I will meet the surgeon during March 2008 to discuss the result of the scan.

My questions to you are as follows:

1)Would the AN have initially grown at the rate of 1mm per year; is it possible to predict the year that the growth of the tumour began? When I experienced the feinting sensation in December 2001 and then the balance problems during February 2002 was the AN present at that time? The surgeon informed me that the brain can correct a balance problem after a certain time. Could it also have corrected the initial fullness in my right ear during 2004? Is there an explanation for the dizziness during swallowing?

2) Is there a possibilty that the balance test did not detect the neuroma. I have been informed that the ABR test is a more likely to detect an AN if the 8th nerve is functioning poorly?

I hope there are not too mant questions to deal with, and thank you in advance for any help that you can provide.
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