Radiation Therapy for Acoustic Neuroma (Vestibular Schwannoma)

Radiation oncologist Kathryn Beal

Radiation oncologist Kathryn Beal specializes in treating acoustic neuromas.

Radiation therapy can shrink or kill acoustic neuroma (vestibular schwannoma) cells.

We may recommend radiation based on your symptoms, the size or shape of your tumor, your age, and other health problems. Radiation may also be recommended if your tumor is in a location that makes it difficult to remove with surgery, or if we are not able to remove the entire tumor with surgery.

We use three types of radiation for acoustic neuroma:

  • Stereotactic radiosurgery is a highly precise, minimally invasive way of delivering radiation directly to a tumor with little or no impact on surrounding structures. It can be given with a linear accelerator like the Varian TrueBeam System, which is used at MSK. Gamma Knife is a device used by other institutions. The effect on the tumor is the same with either system.
  • Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), which uses sophisticated software and 3-D images from CT scans to focus high doses of radiation directly to your tumor. These pencil-thin beams vary in intensity and conform to the specific shape and size of the tumor. This highly focused approach reduces the exposure to healthy tissue in your brain. IMRT can decrease your chance of radiation side effects.
  • Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT), which uses real-time imaging with CT scans or x-rays during radiation therapy to help ensure ideal positioning and lack of motion during treatment. IGRT enables your treatment team to deliver radiation with great accuracy.