How can we help you?
Schedule anappointment >
Ask a question >
Request our expertopinion >
1-877-986-9862(within the U.S.)
Neurofibromas are benign tumors of peripheral nerves. They arise from the cells that form and support the nerve sheath: Schwann cells, fibroblasts, and perineural cells.
These tumors infiltrate the nerve and disrupt the sheaths of individual fibers. The most commonly affected nerve is the vestibulocochlear nerve, which transmits sound and balance information to the brain from the inner ear.
Neurofibromas can be single or multiple. When multiple, they are associated with neurofibromatosis type I, a genetic disorder also known as von Recklinghausen disease.
Symptoms depend on the location and size of the tumor. Neurofibromas typically are painless, slow-growing masses, and may cause no symptoms.
At UPMC, the preferred surgical treatment for neurofibroma of the skull base is the Endoscopic Endonasal Approach (EEA). This innovative, minimally invasive technique uses the nose and nasal cavities as natural corridors to access hard-to-reach or previously inoperable tumors. Benefits of EEA treatment include:
To diagnose neurofibroma, your doctor will:
Symptoms depend on the location and size of the tumor. Neurofibromas typically are painless and slow-growing.
You may feel an electric-like shock when light pressure is applied to the tumor. If a motor or sensory nerve is involved, the associated function may be affected.
Your doctor may order an MRI to diagnose neurofibroma because it has a characteristic appearance on the scan.
A biopsy of the tumor taken during surgery enables positive diagnosis.
Surgery is the treatment of choice for neurofibromas; however, surgery is complicated by the fact that these tumors are often interwoven in the nerve structure.
Because of the risk of nerve damage during surgery, tumors that are not causing symptoms may be left alone.
Neurofibromas of the skull base can be approached directly by using the Endoscopic Endonasal Approach (EEA). This state-of-the-art, minimally invasive approach allows surgeons to access the tumor through the natural corridor of the nose, without making an open incision. Surgeons then remove the neurofibroma through the nose and nasal cavities.
EEA treatment offers the benefits of no incisions to heal, no disfigurement, and a faster recovery time.
UPMC's neurosurgical team comprehensively evaluates your condition, looking at your tumor from every direction. We will use the treatment path that is least disruptive to your brain, critical nerves, and ability to return to normal functioning.
Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by Healthwise, Incorporated. To learn more, visit www.healthwise.org
For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.
UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.
Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.
For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.
Pittsburgh, PA, USA UPMC.com