Learn about the diagnosis and treatment of this usually benign, slow-growing tumor that begins in peripheral nerve cells.
A schwannoma is a type of nerve tumor of the nerve sheath. It's the most common type of benign peripheral nerve tumor in adults. It can occur anywhere in your body, at any age.
A schwannoma typically comes from a single bundle (fascicle) within the main nerve and displaces the rest of the nerve. When a schwannoma grows larger, more fascicles are affected, making removal more difficult. In general, a schwannoma grows slowly.
If you develop a schwannoma in an arm or leg, you may notice a painless lump. Schwannomas are rarely cancerous, but they can lead to nerve damage and loss of muscle control. See your doctor if you have any unusual lumps or numbness.
To diagnose a schwannoma, your doctor may ask you about signs and symptoms, discuss your medical history, and perform both a general physical and neurological exam. If signs suggest that you could have a schwannoma or other nerve tumor, your doctor may recommend one or more of these diagnostic tests:
Schwannoma treatment depends on where the abnormal growth is located and whether it is causing pain or growing quickly. Treatment options include: