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Vestibular schwannomas are benign tumors that arise from cranial nerve VIII, the vestibular nerve. Initial symptoms include decreased hearing, tinnitus (a “ringing” sound in the ear), and vertigo (dizziness), but as the tumor grows in size, it can affect other neighboring structures and cause headache, vomiting, facial weakness, facial numbness, unsteady gait, and loss of balance.

Tumors less than 3 cm in diameter can be treated with surgery or stereotactic radiosurgery, such as Gamma Knife radiosurgery. For tumors larger than 3 cm, surgery is the better option.

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