What’s true for football players is true for
NF2 patients and their medical team: The best defense
is a good, strong offense. For people with NF2, that
includes at a minimum, an annual physical exam and a
yearly neurological evaluation. Also once a year, they
should have an auditory screening, including a test
called brainstem auditory-evoked response, even before
hearing loss symptoms develop. Auditory tests can detect
abnormalities before a problem is visible on an MRI.
NF2 patients should also see an ophthalmologist once
a year for a thorough evaluation.
Once NF2 tumors develop and become or have the potential
to become problematic, the most common treatment is
surgery. Some of these tumors are located within a complex
part of the anatomy known as the skull base, which is
where the undersurface of the brain rests. Removing
these tumors as completely and safely as possible often
requires the expertise of specialists from several medical
disciplines, from neurosurgery to otolarnyngology (ears,
noses, and throat) to ophthalmology. University Hospital
is supported by an experienced, multidisciplinary skull-base
team to address these difficult tumors.
With acoustic neuromas, stereotactic radiosurgery,
in which radiation is precisely delivered to the tumor,
may be an option. In either case, the earlier the tumors
are detected, the greater the chance that they can be
removed safely and with the best outcome for the patient.
While the tumors associated with NF2 are benign, it’s
their location—on or near the brain, the spinal
cord, or the nerves, that makes them surgically challenging.
A neurosurgeon may conclude that removing a tumor poses
more risks to the patient than benefits. For some tumors,
radiation and/or chemotherapy may be recommended.