A Trigeminal Schwannoma Masked by Solely Vestibulocochlear Symptoms
03 August 2020 (online)
Background Intracranial schwannomas are most commonly associated with the vestibulocochlear nerve, often leading to hearing loss, tinnitus, and vestibular dysfunction. Much less often, a schwannoma can arise from the trigeminal nerve which can lead to facial pain, numbness, and weakness.
Purpose We explored a case of a patient with an magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-confirmed trigeminal schwannoma that was mistaken for a vestibulocochlear schwannoma because of a myriad of ipsilateral vestibulocochlear symptoms.
Research Design This is a retrospective chart review and case study, with no statistics applied.
Results This diagnostic error led to clinical confusion and inaccurate medical record-keeping. Radiologists and radiation oncologists deemed the patient's symptoms to be unrelated to the asymptomatic trigeminal schwannoma, and she was referred to an otolaryngologist following complaints of ear fullness, ear pain, and hearing loss. The patient's audiogram showed ipsilateral, asymmetric sensorineural hearing loss, and she was diagnosed with concurrent Meniere's disease. Alternative explanations, such as an additional schwannoma or external compression of the vestibulocochlear nerve, were considered, but not apparent on MRI.
Conclusions From this case, we see that symptoms do not always concur with imaging results and that multiple etiologies, especially when one is rare, can confuse a clinical picture.
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