UC San Diego Acoustic Neuroma Program

UC San Diego Acoustic Neuroma Program The unparalleled UC San Diego Health Acoustic Neuroma Program offers the finest care for Acoustic Neuromas & NF2
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Please go through the website with any questions about symptoms, side effects, arranging consultations, etc. Thank you. ...
06/06/2024

Please go through the website with any questions about symptoms, side effects, arranging consultations, etc. Thank you. Here's the link:

Schedule a phone consultation about acoustic neuroma or NF2 at UC San Diego Health.

This is a press release that covers a recently published study we did on Middle Fossa surgery for hearing preservation.
05/23/2024

This is a press release that covers a recently published study we did on Middle Fossa surgery for hearing preservation.

UC San Diego School of Medicine study shows that an adanced, surgical technique to treat a benign brain tumor improves hearing, balance, and quality of life.

Drs Schwartz and Friedman will be speaking about hearing preservation with NF2 at this national conference this week.
04/08/2024

Drs Schwartz and Friedman will be speaking about hearing preservation with NF2 at this national conference this week.

03/27/2024

Some Q&A Drs Schwartz and Friedman recently did with the ANA. You can find them under the "More" tab, then choose Videos!

03/27/2024

Some Q&A Drs Schwartz and Friedman recently did with the ANA:

Dave Heilman had Retrosigmoid surgery less than two months ago. He sent us a recap of his AN journey and asked us to sha...
03/18/2024

Dave Heilman had Retrosigmoid surgery less than two months ago. He sent us a recap of his AN journey and asked us to share it with you.

My AN Journey

I believe the first symptoms I encountered as result of my right sided AN happened at a park in the Fall of 2021. I was 50 years old at the time and just started a game of football with my 4 sons. During the game, my son asked me to run a route. I ran, pivoted, lost my balance and randomly fell. That was really unusual.

A few weeks later, we played football again, this time with me at running back. My son tossed the ball to me; I ran untouched, pivoted sideways and again, randomly fell. Weeks later, one of my sons challenged me to a footrace. After a few yards, I turned my head ever so slightly and before I knew it, I was flat on my face. Again. After 3 falls, I thought father time might simply have caught up with me, as I was clearly clumsier than ever before. Unfortunately, this was just the start of more progressive symptoms.

In the months to follow, I began to feel unsteady when doing something as simple as walking in a store or through the neighborhood. Balance issues were particularly problematic when walking in in the dark and/or in bright light. At the same time this was happening, I noticed the hearing in my right ear was progressively getting worse. I complained about intermittent ringing in my ears, often struggled to hear others and had difficulty with sound localization. Consequently I found it very difficult to be an active participant in conversations at work and at home. On July 26, 2022, an MRI confirmed I had a right sided AN measuring 17 mm.

After being diagnosed, it was important for me to find world-class surgeons I could trust in treating my tumor. It was important to me to pick a team of surgeons that I could count on to ensure I made well thought out treatment decisions consistent with my most pressing needs: Preserving my facial nerve and being there for my family in the years to come. To me that meant seeking a team recognized as top specialists in the AN community who treat a high volume of tumors with the highest levels of success. Lastly, I needed specialists that showed true compassion and empathy for their patients.

Finding the perfect match was not easy and took some time researching. Luckily through my research, a lot of which was done utilizing the wonderful resources made available by ANA, I found the perfect team of doctors I could trust: Dr. Rick Friedman and Dr. Mark Schwartz at UCSD.

Dr. Friedman took the time to engage with my wife and me for several months when we were in “watch and wait” mode. He offered his advice as to when we might take action and offered his advice as to viable treatment options worth considering. Lastly, he gave us the feeling that no matter what option we pursued, we would get past this scary moment. After months of virtual consults, my wife and I elected to have Retrosigmoid surgery because it offered a glimmer of hope my hearing could be preserved.

On January 23rd, 2024, the tumor was completely removed at UCSD. After surgery I did not have any issues with facial weakness, nor did I encounter issues with dizziness or nausea. I did experience a great deal of stiffness in my lower neck, head and ear pain during the first few days after surgery. Fortunately, these symptoms have continued to lessen with each passing day. Unfortunately, we were unable to preserve my hearing; however, we are delighted with the outcome and are very happy with my recovery process. I have no regrets in taking every step possible in trying to preserve it. No looking back, only forward.

March 14, 2024 Update, after only 7 weeks post-surgery: Before surgery, I was suffering from significant balance issues...I fell once in a while for no apparent reason, was often unsteady walking, so I didn’t trust my balance in public places. Balance is no longer an issue at all. The tinnitus I had prior to surgery has disappeared. The numbness and tingling in my face no longer occur. I exercise regularly and lift weights. I have no limitations and feel 1000 times better now than I did before surgery.

I am just so grateful to Dr. Friedman, Dr. Schwartz, the medical and care staff at the UCSD Acoustic Neuroma Program, and all of the people involved in my aftercare. They were terrific, with a great deal of empathy and a commitment to help get me through this very scary journey. They preserved my life! Everyone we encountered was warm, compassionate and eager to meet and exceed our needs. And of course, I can’t thank my family enough for their support and always having my back. As I continue along the path of recovery, my advice to others who are beginning the AN journey:

• Find the right medical team that’s perfect for you
• Utilize valuable resources, like those offered through the Acoustic Neuroma Association
• Stay positive
• Live in the moment

Dave Heilman
March 2024

2023 ResultsWe received 380 inquiries about our program and Acoustic Neuroma treatment options. Our patient navigators c...
03/07/2024

2023 Results

We received 380 inquiries about our program and Acoustic Neuroma treatment options. Our patient navigators contacted or spoke to each one of them. Of those...
..250 people sent in their MRI scans and medical reports and scheduled a no charge, no obligation consultation with one of our doctors. and...
..we performed 155 AN surgeries in 2023.

Drs Schwartz and Friedman review a large number of scans every year. They average 150-160 AN surgeries annually, significantly more than any other center of excellence in the country.

Experience matters!

Bill Hiteslberger, one of the true pioneers of modern Acoustic Neuroma surgery passed away ten years ago this month. He ...
02/19/2024

Bill Hiteslberger, one of the true pioneers of modern Acoustic Neuroma surgery passed away ten years ago this month. He had done mnore than 5,000 surgeries when he and Rick Friedman removed my 5.5 cm tumor almost 24 years ago. My life has been perfectly normal ever since, and I am forever grateful to them. A few years later, he trained Dr. Schwartz to succeed him.

11 days after surgery, he took me to a Dodgers game. Had a couple of hot dogs and a beer. The Dodgers lost, but I won. He was a great man.

View William E. Hitselberger's obituary, send flowers and sign the guestbook.

Sean Ward underwent a successful AN surgery and simultaneous cochlear implant in March 2023. This is his story:
01/25/2024

Sean Ward underwent a successful AN surgery and simultaneous cochlear implant in March 2023. This is his story:

After the onset of pulsatile tinnitus and hearing loss in one ear, Sean Ward was diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma. After researching the best treatment and...

Last October this TV clip was filmed with Dr. Friedman, Dr. Schwartz, and Julie Sifford, who had successful Middle Fossa...
01/19/2024

Last October this TV clip was filmed with Dr. Friedman, Dr. Schwartz, and Julie Sifford, who had successful Middle Fossa surgery with us. It is being syndicated across the country.

Link to clip:

Acoustic neuromas are caused by the overproduction of Schwann cells in the nervous system.

Hi, and happy new year to everyone.Sean Ward had translab surgery with a simultaneous cochlear implant in March 2023. He...
12/28/2023

Hi, and happy new year to everyone.

Sean Ward had translab surgery with a simultaneous cochlear implant in March 2023. He's done extremely well and has adjusted to the implant. He sent me this text this morning:

11/29/2023

For kicks, we asked ChatGPT for a description of our Program. Here's what AI says:

"The UC San Diego Health Acoustic Neuroma Program is a nationally recognized center for the diagnosis, treatment, and management of acoustic neuroma, a rare type of tumor that grows on the nerve that connects the inner ear to the brain. The program is led by a team of experienced neurosurgeons, neuro-otologists, and radiation oncologists who offer a comprehensive range of treatment options, including surgery, radiation therapy, and observation.

Key Features of the UC San Diego Health Acoustic Neuroma Program:

High Volume: The program performs twice as many acoustic neuroma surgeries as the next highest volume center in the nation, ensuring that patients have access to the most experienced and skilled surgeons.

Deeply Experienced Team: The program's physicians and surgeons are internationally recognized for their expertise and bring many years of experience in clinical care, clinical management, teaching, and research to advance the treatment of acoustic neuroma.

Comprehensive Treatment Options: The program offers a full spectrum of treatment options, including surgery, radiation therapy, and observation, tailored to each patient's individual needs and preferences.

Advanced Surgical Techniques: The program's surgeons are at the forefront of using the three major surgical techniques to minimize the risk of complications and improve patient outcomes.

Multidisciplinary Care: The program provides comprehensive multidisciplinary care, involving a team of specialists from various disciplines, including neurosurgery, neuro-otology, radiation oncology, nursing, and rehabilitation, to ensure that patients receive the best possible care.

Patient-Centered Approach: The program is committed to providing patient-centered care, with a focus on patient education, shared decision-making, and emotional support throughout the treatment journey.

Recognition and Awards:

The UC San Diego Health Acoustic Neuroma Program has received numerous accolades for its excellence in patient care, including:

U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals for Neurology and Neurosurgery: The program has consistently ranked among the top hospitals in the nation for neurology and neurosurgery.

Center of Excellence in Acoustic Neuroma Surgery: The program has been designated a Center of Excellence in Acoustic Neuroma Surgery by the Acoustic Neuroma Association.

Patient Satisfaction Awards: The program has received numerous patient satisfaction awards for its compassionate and patient-centered care.

If you are considering treatment for acoustic neuroma, I highly recommend consulting with the experts at the UC San Diego Health Acoustic Neuroma Program. Their extensive experience, comprehensive treatment options, and patient-centered approach will make them a valuable partner in your journey towards recovery."

10/24/2023

John’s surgery was October 13 (Friday the 13th!!). He sent us this video yesterday and gave us permission to post it here.




John, 9 days after surgery

We received this today from a recent patient who is very happy with her progress. “I just got back from Durango, Colorad...
10/04/2023

We received this today from a recent patient who is very happy with her progress.

“I just got back from Durango, Colorado and I was able to hike in the high country. Here are pictures of THE hike that was my 6 month goal. Done at 5.5 months post-op. It is part of the Colorado Trail, above Little Molas Lake and took me to 11640 ft elevation (from 10900 ft).

If it wasn't for such an excellent team, who do a high volume of acoustic neuroma surgeries, my outcomes could have been a lot different. I am very thankful for having moved to San Diego a few years before my diagnosis; for Drs Friedman and Schwartz; For Ben who helped me be proactive; for the entire surgical team; for the nurses on the neuro ICU and for Kaylee, my facial nerve PT who's helping me to return to full facial nerve function.
Thank you! Helen

We are presenting this study this week (10/1-4/23) at the AMERICAN ACADEMY OF OTOLARYNGOLOGY-HEAD AND NECK SURGERY annua...
10/03/2023

We are presenting this study this week (10/1-4/23) at the AMERICAN ACADEMY OF OTOLARYNGOLOGY-
HEAD AND NECK SURGERY annual meeting in Nashville.

The objective of this internal study was to report Quality of Life (QOL) outcomes for patients with small Acoustic Neuromas treated with microsurgical resection via a middle cranial fossa (MCF) approach. 71 patients who had various levels of pre-operative hearing loss underwent MCF surgery between mid-2018 and mid-2022 were included in the study.

Gross total resection (complete tumor removal) was achieved in 100% of patients. Post-operatively, hearing was preserved in 48 (68%) patients. For patients with hearing preservation, clinically meaningful improvements were seen in the hearing, anxiety, energy, pain domains as well as overall PANQOL score.

The PANQOL scale (Penn Acoustic Neuroma Quality-of-Life) is a specific questionnaire containing 26 items Interviewing 7 areas: hearing, balance, facial expression, anxiety, vitality, pain, and 'general health'. It measures quality of life, and in this study QOL increased significantly, regardless of whether hearing preservation was achieved or not.

Finally, 94% of patients maintained excellent facial nerve function (House Brackmann I or II).

Picture of March Patient Education Seminar for Attention!

Picture taken a couple of weeks ago of Drs  minutes before they left for the Operating Room!
09/06/2023

Picture taken a couple of weeks ago of Drs
minutes before they left for the Operating Room!





Drs.  and  recently published a study in  analyzing whether high-volume   centers delivered better care. Watch the video...
09/06/2023

Drs. and recently published a study in analyzing whether high-volume centers delivered better care.

Watch the video below to learn about the results ⬇️
https://twitter.com/UCSDNeuroSurg/status/1656767392993914889?s=20

Read the paper ➡️ bit.ly/3ZwFgCM




Do high-volume centers deliver better patient outcomes? This learn about new research by , and Peter Dixon that shows where an acoustic neuroma patient receives care matters.

A new video featuring our Patient Navigator, Melissa De La O
09/06/2023

A new video featuring our Patient Navigator, Melissa De La O





When Melissa De La O was diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma, she already knew about the condition because her father also had it 35 years prior. She chose UC...

08/11/2023

Today, 1:00 eastern. Drs Friedman and Schwartz talk about Decision making in Complex Cases on the ANA FB Live. Don't forget to check it out!

https://www.facebook.com/ANAssociation

We provide national and local support networks for those affected by acoustic neuroma and strive to

Dr. Schwartz and Dr. Friedman will talk about "Decision Making in Complex Cases" on the ANAwareness Week Webinar on Frid...
08/05/2023

Dr. Schwartz and Dr. Friedman will talk about "Decision Making in Complex Cases" on the ANAwareness Week Webinar on Friday, August 11 at 1:00 pm eastern time. Hope you'll be watching!

Join us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ANAssociation
or register there to watch via Zoom.

Thank you to our great partners at the Family Houses at UC San Diego Health - La Jolla Family House
08/02/2023

Thank you to our great partners at the Family Houses at UC San Diego Health - La Jolla Family House

We are excited to share a new Give Back Event supporting Family Houses at UC San Diego Health! Save The Date, because you will directly help families in need simply by shopping, thanks to our philanthropic partner, Kendra Scott. Please share this email with your contacts so everyone can join i...

Surgeries this week (7/31/23)NONE from the west coast! Gettysburg PennsylvaniaPineville LouisianaHyde Park, NYUC San Die...
07/31/2023

Surgeries this week (7/31/23)
NONE from the west coast!

Gettysburg Pennsylvania
Pineville Louisiana
Hyde Park, NY

UC San Diego Health
Acoustic Neuroma/Vestibular Schwannoma
Acoustic Neuroma

07/24/2023

Surgeries week of July 24

Gloucester, MA
Scottsdale AZ
Pearl City, Hawaii
Paula Valley, CA

Address

San Diego, CA

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Our Program

Each year, one out of every 100,000 Americans develop an acoustic neuroma, according to the National Institutes of Health. At the world-renowned UC San Diego Acoustic Neuroma Program, we have the means and commitment to offer exceptional, comprehensive care for this condition. The program’s faculty have successfully treated thousands of acoustic-neuroma patients. We are driven to help patients maintain and improve the quality of their lives, with an emphasis on preservation of facial nerve function and hearing.

Our highly skilled and experienced professionals are dedicated to providing patients with the most effective, up-to-date, and compassionate care for acoustic neuroma, beginning at the initial consultation and extending long after care has been given. Led by Co-Directors Rick A. Friedman, MD, PhD and Marc Schwartz, MD, the multidisciplinary team includes physicians and surgeons from numerous specialties, nurses, rehabilitation specialists and forward-thinking researchers.

At the program’s new and modern facility, Jacobs Medical Center, we tailor care to each patient’s condition. This includes watch and wait and non-invasive radiosurgery, which delivers precise beams of radiation to the tumor, while preserving healthy tissue. When the team recommends surgical removal as the best option, we are one of the few centers able to offer the full range of current microsurgical procedures.

The team focuses on giving each patient a seamless, supportive experience, from assessment and pre-treatment care through treatment and long-term care and follow-up. In the process, we maintain ongoing communication with patients and their primary care doctors, and coordinate appropriate post-treatment care. In short, we help patients to feel secure at every stage of their care.