I regret that I didn't see this thread when it was fresh (2 months ago) but after reading Eugene's comments, which were informative, I did wish to make a comment of my own. Based on the many posts I've read, I'm willing to stipulate that the House Ear Clinic in Los Angeles is the best in the country for Acoustic Neuroma surgery. However, I live in Connecticut and did not wish to travel cross-country for my surgery if it was not absolutely necessary. It wasn't.
As my signature shows, I had my 4.5 cm tumor removed at the Hospital of Saint Raphael in New Haven, Connecticut. My neurosurgeon, Dr. Issac ('Ike') Goodrich had over 30 years experience in AN surgery and was considered the best in the state by his peers, for this type of operation. He took a different route than some surgeons take. On my large AN, He 'de-bulked' the tumor, using the retrosigmoid approach
. He removed a little less than half of the tumor but, using nerve monitoring, avoided disturbing any of the nerves that, if disturbed, often give AN patients a world of trouble, post-op. As I had little nerve damage pre-op, I was hyper-aware of the potential risk for such damage. I made certain the neurosurgeon understood my concern and would act accordingly by sparing the nerves during surgery. He did. I came out of my AN surgery with no real nerve damage and with only mild balance problems, which resolved themselves within a few weeks. So far, so good.
I should mention that, although Dr. Goodrich is a graduate of Yale medical school and although The Hospital of St. Raphael is
a teaching hospital, Dr. Goodrich hand-picks his surgical team (including the scrub nurses) and does not permit hospital Residents to be part of that team. 'Only pros are allowed in my operating theater
' - as he put it too me. He is permitted that 'luxury' because Saint Raphael's competitor, the better-known Yale-New Haven hospital, would love to have him. However, they insist that he use Residents in his surgeries - and he refuses. I can see his point. Dr. Goodrich is usually 'booked solid' and took my case as a favor to a colleague who had previously performed spinal surgery on my wife. Dr. Goodrich viewed my large and growing AN as a serious health threat and, in response, basically cleared his schedule to operate ASAP. I will always be grateful to him for that.
The second phase of my treatment was to undergo 'fractionalized radiation'
; 26 separate, daily, low-dose radiation sessions, about 15 minutes each in durantion, targeted very specifically at the remaining tumor by both my neurosurgeon and a very experienced radiation oncolgist who worked with him. The point is to kill the remaining tumor cells and prevent re-growth yet avoid a large dose of radiation at one time, with it's potential problems. I was informed that this 2-tier treatment has had great success in Boston and although it's too soon for me to claim total success in my case, I'm confident I'll be fine.
After my initial AN surgery and when the hospital drugs had 'worn off', I regained my balance (with some practice),within weeks, my strength came back and, six months post-op, my energy level is about the same as it ever was. My hearing in the 'AN side' was lost pre-op so even with the Retrosigmoid surgical approach Dr. Goodrich used, I do not expect hearing to return on that side. Otherwise, aside from occasional mild 'dry-eye' late at night, which, because I have no facial paralysis, I can work around by rapid 'forced' blinking - or just go to bed, I have few post-op complications. My taste has returned and few folks would ever guess that I had brain surgery just 6 months ago. Time will tell as to the ultimate success of my overall treatment but I expect complete success.
I guess what I'm trying to point out is that there are myriad approaches to removing an Acoustic Neuroma tumor successfully, without causing the patient new problems. My neurosurgeon used a 'new' approach that combines invasive surgery with radiation. I like this approach. I trust it will be successful for me. So far, so good.