Risks and Complications of surgery
Possible complications from surgery are similar for all brain surgeries. These include infection, bleeding, death, coma, stroke and seizures. The likelihood of serious complications is fairly low in modern neurosurgical centres.
Other complications specific to acoustic neuroma surgery include:
The surgeon has to manipulate and dissect the tumour off the nerve, or sometimes to remove a portion of this nerve. Nerve damage or swelling may occur and cause weakness or paralysis of the facial muscles. This results in incomplete eye closure and sagging of the face. The exposed cornea is dry and easily injured by dust particles. To protect it, the eyelids have to be taped together after instillation of eyedrops. Area inside the inner ear canal where acoustic neuroma usually grows from. A small surgical procedure called tarsorrhaphy (stitching together of the edges of the outer third of the eyelids) may be advised later to protect the eye. Nerve regeneration may occur if the nerve is still anatomically intact after surgery.
However, this is a slow process and it may take up to a year for some recovery of facial movement to be seen. If no recovery is visible after one year, a second operation may be considered to connect the healthy portion of the Facial Nerve to the Hypoglossal Nerve leading to that side of the tongue. This procedure is called Hypoglossal-Facial Nerve anastomosis and restores some, but not perfect, facial functions.
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