Author Topic: Seattle area experiences with specific doctors?  (Read 2932 times)


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Seattle area experiences with specific doctors?
« on: November 21, 2019, 09:46:49 pm »
Hi everyone, this is my first post here!

I have a smaller sized AN and am in process of deciding next steps after lots of research on this ANA site and meeting with several specialist doctors.  I live in the Seattle area, and have met with Dr. Syed Azeem of Kaiser Permanente, who teams with Dr. Backous.  I have seen many positive references here to Dr. Backous, though not a single reference to Dr. Azeem seemingly anywhere (here on the forum or elsewhere on the web).  Has anyone had any experience with surgery by Dr. Azeem that they would be willing to share either in the forum or direct to me via email or phone?

I have also met with Dr. Ferreira of UW, as well for a second opinion.  He seemed like another good option, and I have seen some other references to him on the forum here.

All doctors have so far recommended retrosigmoid surgery for me.

My main decision point at this time is which team of doctors to go with.  Any inputs and experiences would be very appreciated.

Thank you!


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Re: Seattle area experiences with specific doctors?
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2019, 04:02:08 pm »
Welcome to the forum Scott.

You would already know this, but there's no need to rush. These are slow growing tumors and most of the time have already stopped growing by the time they are diagnosed - a followup MRI, say ion 6 months, will give you a better picture.

What size were you told your tumor is? What are your symptoms?


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Re: Seattle area experiences with specific doctors?
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2019, 04:27:46 pm »
Thank you for the inputs, ANSydney!

My tumor is about 1.3 cm, and I have no significant symptoms.  Very occasional and mild fleeting headache or dizziness.  I have had tinnitus for many years, though it is in both ears so may not be AN related.

I have had two MRIs so far, one a year ago and another a couple months ago.  The followup indicated some growth of the tumor.

My main concerns about waiting are:
   1) Possibility of irreversible symptoms starting, such as hearing loss (understood that treatment itself may actually cause hearing loss that was not there before, unfortunately)
   2) Surgery is easier and more likely to have better outcomes when the AN is smaller and I am younger (52 years old)

My main concern about getting surgery is:
   1) Possibility of creating hearing loss or other side effects that are not currently a problem

My main concern about getting radiation treatment is:
   1) Although short term negative effects will be minimal, this approach makes it highly likely that I would lose my hearing in the AN ear over years

I sure wish there was "the answer", though all of the unknown probabilities, patient specific outcomes, and pros/cons with different approaches make it a frustrating decision process, indeed.  I am leaning toward getting the retrosigmoid surgery based on the recommendations of all three doctors seen so far plus the concerns above about waiting, although nothing is absolute in this, is it?   :)

I am trying to maximize my opportunity for successful outcomes by having the most skilled doctors, whoever they may be.


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Re: Seattle area experiences with specific doctors?
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2020, 09:28:41 pm »

Dr. Backous and Dr. Azeem successfully removed my vestibular schwannoma on 9/3/2019 and I would highly recommend them as a team.  I also saw Dr. Ferreria for a second opinion and he highly regards Dr. Azeem and Dr. Backous for this surgery.  Dr. Azeem has been very informative through the pre-surgery months and is very quick to respond to my frequent questions regarding post-treatment experiences like eye twitching and how to overcome insomnia after surgery.

If you have not yet had surgery I would be happy to answer any questions or share my experience with you.

Diagnosed at the ER: May 2019, 28 years old, 2cm left-side vestibular schwannoma
Surgery: September 2019 with MidFossa approach by Dr. Azeem & Dr. Backous in Seattle, WA.