I was quite recently diagnosed with a small (.3 cm) acoustic neuroma ("intercanalicular"). Despite the size, I have already experienced significant asymmetrical hearing loss in that ear, which is why I was sent in for an MRI in the first place (I haven't had any other symptoms, though I am told that my balance nerve is certainly already affected). I am almost 62, so my initial thought has been that the long-term possible side effects of radiosurgery would be preferable to the traumatic nature of microsurgery.
I have seen two doctors (one in "otolaryngology," the other in "otorhinolaryngology") who have each performed AN surgery "hundreds" of times.
One recommended "watchful waiting" and another MRI in six months, and described the various options for surgery if the AN continues to grow. He doesn't do the stereotactic radiation surgery, but has a colleague who does.
The other told me that my hearing might deteriorate further in six months, so I should consider doing something sooner if I wanted the best chance of preserving my hearing in the affected ear. He suggested a 70% success rate in preserving hearing with microsurgery (middle fossa), but only 40% with the gamma knife. Similarly, he doesn't do the radiosurgery, but has a colleague who does.
For various reasons, preserving whatever hearing I have is quite important to my work and life, and these numbers are far more depressing than I had been led to believe from preliminary reading and listening to others' experiences in a local support group. I am also quite depressed by the thought that waiting six months might result in a further, irreversible decline in my hearing potential.
Can anyone direct me to some reliable statistics on hearing loss/preservation with microsurgery vs. radiosurgery? Do these numbers sound pretty much in line with what others have heard from their physicians?