Following a diagnosis of acoustic neuroma, the best option is sometimes to adopt a position of “watchful waiting.”
This strategy is made possible by the fact that the acoustic neuroma is a benign tumor and is rarely cancerous. It also grows slowly, an average of only 2 millimeters a year.
Watchful waiting can be advantageous if the tumor is small, is growing slowly and is causing minimal symptoms. If the patient is older, the risks of watching and doing nothing may outweigh the risks of treatment.
Observation of an acoustic neuroma involves an annual MRI scan. In 20 percent of observed patients, changes in symptoms or the tumor’s size indicate a need for surgery or radiation treatment.