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Conditions We Treat: Nerve Sheath Tumor

The nerve sheath is a layer of myelin and connective tissue that surrounds and insulates fibers in the peripheral nerves — those branching out of the brain and spinal cord. A nerve sheath tumor is an abnormal growth within the cells of this covering. Nerve sheath tumors such as neurofibromas and schwannomas are mostly benign, but malignant nerve sheath tumors can be serious and require prompt treatment.

Nerve Sheath Tumor: Why Choose Johns Hopkins

nerve anatomy illustration
  • With vast experience in surgically managing even the most complex peripheral nerve injuries, the Peripheral Nerve Surgery Center offers the skilled intervention you need to address pain and restore optimal function.
  • The Peripheral Nerve Surgery Center was founded to provide the highest quality surgical care for peripheral nerve injuries and to generate new understanding of the diagnosis and treatment of nerve diseases through research.
  • You will benefit from our multidisciplinary approach, with insights from neurology, neurosurgery, orthopaedics, plastic and reconstructive surgery, radiology and rehabilitation.
  • Our holistic approach addresses the total well-being of the patient with a unique degree of experience, successful surgical outcome record and access to quality hospital care.

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Call or email to request an appointment with our peripheral nerve surgery team.

Treatment for Nerve Sheath Tumors

Nonsurgical treatments are appropriate for many patients with nerve sheath tumors because the tumors are often slow-growing and most do not cause pain or other symptoms until they get large. Your doctor may recommend regular examinations and imaging studies to keep track of the tumor’s growth.

For large neurofibromas or schwannomas, surgery might be recommended, especially if you are experiencing pain, numbness, tingling or other problems due to the tumor’s pressure on a nerve.

Malignant nerve sheath tumors (also called neurofibrosarcomas) require immediate surgical removal because they are very aggressive.

Nerve Sheath Tumor Surgery

Nerve sheath tumor surgery is designed to remove the tumor as completely as possible. In most cases, these tumors can be removed and the nerves preserved. In the rare cases where keeping the nerve intact is impossible, nerve repair is often performed at the same time as the tumor removal surgery.

In the case of schwanommas, the nerve can usually be left intact as the tumor is peeled off the surface of the nerve using microsurgical technique. To address a neurofibroma, the tumor is inside the nerve and the nerve must be opened and the tumor is taken from within.

Recovery from nerve sheath surgery depends on the type of tumor, location and extent of the surgery. Your doctor will give you detailed instructions about surgery and recovery. If your tumor is malignant, your doctor will work with our oncology team to provide a comprehensive treatment program, which may include chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Your Peripheral Nerve Surgery Team


Advanced Practitioners

  • Bronwyn Slobogan, P.A.

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