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Schwannomas are another type of tumour, which arises from the tissues surrounding both cranial and spinal cord nerves. The most common of these is the acoustic schwannoma or acoustic neuroma, which arises from the nerve responsible for hearing, in the posterior fossa of the brain. As with meningiomas, they will grow and push into brain substance rather than invade it. These tumours normally present with progressive deafness in one ear and are diagnosed with both CT scanning and MRI scanning. The diagnosis was usually never in doubt with these tumours and biopsy is not necessary. Surgery used to be the only useful form of therapy, but it is now clear that these tumours are very susceptible to radiation and especially focused radiation in the form of the Gamma Knife, which is being utilized more and more as the primary therapy here in Manitoba. Although again the Gamma Knife does not involve actual surgery, it has complications both potentially early and long-term and when a patient presents to the Neurosurgery Section with one of these tumours, a very full discussion of the options and possibilities is conducted with the patient.

As with meningiomas, these tumours are very slow growing. In the elderly patients, observation again is a very valid form of management.

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