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Nerve Tumor Treatment in New Jersey

closeup of representation of cancerous tumorA nerve tumor is an abnormal growth of cells that together create a mass within or on any nerve. Nerves may be categorized as central, peripheral, or autonomic. The central nervous system is comprised of the brain and spine. The term nerve tumor is typically reserved for tumors of the peripheral nervous system what are the nerves that branch off from the central nervous system and travel throughout the body and extremities. Most nerve tumors develop inside the nerve sheath and supportive tissue. Depending on what type of nerve tumor begins to form, the tumor will develop either quickly or slowly. Certain types of nerve tumors may only require monitoring without treatment. There are, however, certain types of nerve tumors in which aggressive treatment is necessary. In either case, Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine & Orthopedics of Northern New Jersey can provide both the diagnosis and the best evidence-based medicine recommendations for the optimal course of action.

Risk Factors for Nerve Tumors

Although specialists have not linked nerve tumors to any known cause, there are instances where certain conditions or exposures have been associated with an increased incidence:
  • It is an inherited nerve tumor growth disorder that results in numerous tumor growths throughout the body. There are three unique types of neurofibromatosis which are: neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2), and schwannomatosis.
  • Radiation. People who have been exposed to radiation or have undergone radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer maybe at increased risk for developing tumor growths in their nerve tissue.

Types of Nerve Tumors

There are four common types of nerve tumors. Each has its own characteristics and will require specific treatment. These types are:

Nerve Schwannoma

Schwannoma is a nerve tumor that forms within the tissue of the sheath which covers a peripheral nerve. This type of tumor is the most prevalent form of adult benign peripheral nerve tumors. A schwannoma can occur on any peripheral nerve throughout the body at any given age. The incidence of schwannomas is low.

This type of nerve tumor grows slowly but is more difficult to remove once it gets larger. Typically, schwannomas are not cancerous. They can, however, cause a loss of muscle control and nerve damage to the affected nerve. Individuals suspected of or diagnosed with a schwannoma should seek the attention of a CNSO neurosurgeon for immediate medical attention.

Ganglion cyst

A ganglion cyst is a type of non-cancerous nerve tumor that forms near a joint or tendon. Most ganglion cysts form around the hand or wrist but may also occur in the feet and ankles. When small, they appear pea-sized, but eventually, they can grow larger and become uncomfortable.

A typical ganglion cyst is painless. However, it can become painful, especially if it presses a nerve. When this happens, it can cause nerve damage or impaired joint movement. For treatment, the neurosurgeon may choose to drain the ganglion cyst using a needle or surgically remove it.

If the cyst is not causing inconveniences and no symptoms are indicated, treatment is not necessary. In most instances, these cysts vanish with time.

Neuroma

A neuroma is a painful benign perineural tumor that develops because of trauma or injury to the peripheral nerve. Neuromas can form after a crushing injury, amputation, or burn. They are very painful and debilitating. The neurosurgeons at CNSO can remove the neuroma and place the nerve deep into the tissue so that it is no longer traumatized. Medications can also reduce the hypersensitivity of the nerve and minimize the inflammation.

Anti-inflammatory injections, orthotics, and surgical removal are treatment options for a neuroma type of nerve tumor.

Neurofibroma

A neurofibroma is a benign nerve tumor that causes soft bumps to develop on or below the skin’s surface. It grows within minor and major nerves at any point in the body. Neurofibromas are a common nerve tumor and typically tend to form at the central point within the nerves. At times, it may arise from a group of several nerve bundles in which case it is referred to as a plexiform neurofibroma.

Symptoms of neurofibroma are often minor or non-existent. However, one may feel numbness or pain in the afflicted region if the tumor compresses nerves or grows inside them. Treatment options include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and medication. Being aware of the symptoms is crucial to early detection and ensuring the administration of effective treatment.

Diagnosis of Nerve Tumors

If individuals are experiencing any painful symptoms or discover a lump, consult with a doctor right away. Early diagnosis is crucial for nerve tumors, especially malignant (cancerous) peripheral nerve tumors. The team at Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine & Orthopedics throughout Northern New Jersey, provides accurate diagnoses and the best treatment options for patients with nerve pain. Depending on the patient’s history and symptoms, different tests are used to determine the attachment sites of a lump or whether it may be cancerous.  MRIs offer the best detection method for most soft tissue masses. Noninvasive tests that may be necessary to diagnose typical nerve tumors include, but are not limited to:
  • Image tests. An MRI scan, CT scan, and PET scan can help diagnose a nerve tumor.
  • Biopsy. A biopsy would involve the removal of nerve tissue to confirm the type of tumor. Only if necessary, would a CNSO neurosurgeons conduct a biopsy for tissue diagnosis. If the tumor is completely removed, a specimen would be sent to pathology for confirmation of the diagnosis.

Treatment

Several treatment options are available for CNSO patients. However, the type most suitable for a patient is dependent on several factors such as:
  • The severity of discomfort caused by the tumor
  • The type of tumor
  • The location of the tumor
  • Concurrent factors such as the patient’s overall health
The team at Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine & Orthopedics work with patients to provide comprehensive care. Treatment options include:
  • Monitoring. After confirming the diagnosis, a CNSO neurosurgeon or neurologist will perform regular checkups to see whether the tumors are growing. If the tumors continue to grow or are problematic other treatment options will be recommended.
  • Surgery. Surgical removal of nerve tumors may be necessary depending on the patient’s symptoms, location of the tumor, and type of tumor. Depending on the type of nerve tumor, reconstructive plastic surgeons and neurosurgeons may need to work together to provide patients with an optimal nerve tumor removal.
  • Chemotherapy. If surgical removal isn’t possible due to the location of the tumor, chemotherapy may be needed.
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs. For less severe cases, CNSO doctors prescribe anti-inflammatory medications, which help to reduce the swelling and inflammation caused by the tumor.
  • At Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine & Orthopedics, occupational and physical therapists help patients through recovery and rehabilitation therapy.
  • Radiation and Chemotherapy.
Other treatments may also include:
  • Radiotherapy for cancerous tumors
  • Braces and support equipment for recovery from nerve injuries caused by tumors

Contact CNSO for Treatment and Diagnosis

Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine & Orthopedics offers a dedicated surgical and non-surgical team that provides the services necessary to alleviate pain associated with tumors and other neurological disorders. CNSO spans across northern New Jersey with  multiple convenient locations in Bergen, Passaic, Essex, Morris, and Hudson counties. Please contact CNSO of New Jersey today.
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In order to provide an accurate diagnosis with the most effective treatment option for “back problems” and brain tumors, CNSO is led by neurosurgeons and orthopedic spine surgeons. Under the care of our award-winning neurosurgeons and orthopedic spine surgeons, Northern NJ patients can have the confidence that their medical condition will be handled with consideration for their comfort and long-term well-being as well as technical excellence.

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