Diagnosing Vestibular Schwannoma
Diagnosing vestibular schwannoma usually begins with a review of the patient's medical history and a physical exam. If the doctor suspects vestibular schwannoma, he or she may order several tests to help confirm the diagnosis. Tests used in diagnosing vestibular schwannoma may include a hearing test, CT scans, and MRIs.
A doctor diagnosing vestibular schwannoma will usually ask a number of questions concerning the patient's medical history, perform a physical exam, and recommend certain tests or procedures.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to diagnose vestibular schwannoma early. The symptoms of vestibular schwannoma can be subtle and may not appear in the beginning stages of tumor growth. Also, several symptoms of the tumor, such as hearing loss, dizziness, and tinnitus, can be caused by many middle and inner ear problems.
A healthcare provider diagnosing vestibular schwannoma will often begin by asking the patient a number of questions about:
- His or her symptoms
- Personal history of medical problems
- Medicines he or she may be taking
- Family history of any medical conditions.
The doctor will then usually perform a complete physical exam, including looking at the skin, within the ears and eyes, and performing a neurological exam.
If your doctor suspects vestibular schwannoma, he or she may recommend several tests to help in diagnosing the tumor. These tests for vestibular schwannoma can include:
- A hearing test (audiogram)
- Computerized tomography (CT) scans, enhanced with intravenous dye (contrast)
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), enhanced with intravenous dye (contrast).
These tests are often critical in the early detection of a vestibular schwannoma. In addition, doctors may find such vestibular schwannoma tests helpful in determining the location and size of the tumor, and in planning its removal.