There are many medical terms and conditions that are popular enough to be known by most people. Then there are conditions, such as schwannoma, that are a bit more obscure. As a premier brain and spine surgeon in Los Angeles, Dr. Yashar wants everyone to be aware of this condition and its symptoms. If you are suffering from a schwannoma, you should know it. Here is a brief description and symptoms of a schwannoma.
What is a Schwannoma?
A Schwannoma is a tumor that forms in nerves, and is usually benign. Although in rare instances, it can be cancerous, it is still important to diagnose and treat a schwannoma. These tumors can develop essentially anywhere in the body and age does not play a major factor in those that are affected.
Ultimately, taking care of this before it becomes a problem will stop any nerve and muscle damage, which is the biggest risk from this condition. The name is derived from the type of cell that forms this tumor, called the Schwann cell. This condition has the possibility of affecting the body in ways that is more severe than just pain and discomfort. Although it grows slowly, left untreated, a schwannoma can lead to severe nervous system damage.
What are the Symptoms of a Schwannoma?
The first sign will be a visible lump of the area that is affected. The following symptoms will most likely not happen until it has grown to the point that it is causing pressure to the surrounding nerves. If you have a noticeable lump, combined with any of the following symptoms, it is important to contact your doctor right away for a test. Symptoms of a schwannoma can include:
- Loss of hearing, dizziness, loss of balance, or ringing in the ears may be due to a schwannoma of the vestibular nerve. This is the nerve that connects the ear to the brain and is one of the most common forms of schwannoma.
- Pain in your arms or legs, muscle numbness, tingling, or weakness can be due to the spinal nerve root being affected.
- Pain or discomfort in a localized area of the arms or legs.
- Problems swallowing, facial paralysis or pain, difficulty moving eyes, or loss of taste may be linked to the facial nerve.
Essentially, if you are feeling pain, numbness, or weakness in any muscles or nerves without proper cause (such as trauma to the area, soreness from activity, etc.), you may have a schwannoma. Look for any lumps or protrusions, and contact your doctor for a proper test.
How to Test for a Schwannoma
If the symptoms are pointing to a schwannoma, you may undergo one of the following tests to double-check:
- MRI, which stands for magnetic resonance imaging. This is performed in that big machine to get a complete scan of your whole body. It uses magnetic fields and radio frequencies to get this image of your body.
- CT scan, which stands for computerized tomography. This is a similar test to the MRI scan but uses x-rays instead.
- Electromyogram, or EMG, uses the electrical activity in your muscles to record an image of what is below the surface.
- Tumor biopsy is where a small sample of the tumor cell is removed to be analyzed. This test is only performed once the existence of the tumor is confirmed, and to decipher if it is benign or malignant.
- Nerve biopsy is only performed in certain cases where a false positive of a schwannoma is present.
Brain & Spine Surgeon in Los Angeles
Any chronic pain or discomfort is usually a sign of something larger, so be sure to talk to a professional if any of these symptoms define you. Dr. Yashar has the experience and desire to take care of you. If you are in need of a spine surgeon in Los Angeles, reach out to him today.