I'm a 30 year old male living in Sydney (Australia) with a 38x38x33mm acoustic neuroma (is there any way I can attach my MRI imagery to this post?).
My only symptoms are a slight to moderate hearing loss and tinitus on the right hand side.
I'm currently with Dr. Nigel Biggs and Prof. Paul Fagan (both ENT surgeons) in Sydney, who intend to operate me on 9 November. Both are very experienced surgeons with approx. 250 and 1000 AN operations so far, respectively. Dr. Biggs would be leading the surgery and Prof. Fagan would assist; Prof. Fagan was one of the first surgeons to do the translabyrinthine approach, and is now close to retirement.
I've heard from some friends in medicine (none of which are neurosurgeons or ENTs) that say that because my tumor is very large, relatively deep in the brain and exerts significant pressure on the brain stem, it may be good to have an experienced neurosurgeon on the medical team. I also heard the same recommendation from both an ENT surgeon and a neurosurgeon overseas who I've spoken to via email and who have seen my MRI imagery. Dr. Biggs (ENT in Sydney) on the other hand says that he has more experience than any neurosurgeon at least in Australia, and that it is not necessary to have a neurosurgeon on the team.
This is how I've come to consider teams involving a neurosurgeon, such as Dr. Robert Briggs (ENT) and Prof. Kaye (neurosurgeon) in Melbourne (Australia) or Prof. Tatagiba in Germany.
My current impression is that ENT surgeons tend to prefer the translabyrinthine, neurosurgeons the suboccipital-retrosigmoid approach. I'm aware that the translabyrinthine approach necessarily implies complete loss of hearing and balance on the corresponding side, which I'd tolerate, but also offers better access to the tumor and better chances of saving the facial nerve.
I have excellent private health insurance and am willing to travel anywhere worldwide to get this done.
Hence my questions:
1. How important is it to have a neurosurgeon on the team, in particular in my case?
2. Any idea about Dr. Nigel Biggs/Prof. Paul Fagan (both ENT, Sydney) vs. Dr. Robert Briggs/Prof. Andrew Kaye (ENT/neurosurgeon, Melbourne) vs. Prof. Tatagiba's team (neurosurgeon, Germany)?
3. Any other recommendations or considerations?
My current plan is to go ahead with the surgery in Sydney, but I'm also frantically gathering more information to make the most informed decision.
I'd appreciate any help that I can get in making this decision.
Greetings from Sydney and thanks in advance!