Directory of AN Complications
This page lists various possible complications after AN treatments, with links to separate pages that provide more details. Your individual odds of having any of the complications listed below depend on your individual AN case, as well as on the treatment and the physician you choose. Prior to making any treatment decisions, AN patients owe it to themselves to understand just how likely they are to have these problems after their treatment. Here is our advice on asking your doctors the right questions.
If anyone has experienced additional symptoms, or has more information on these, they are encouraged to contact us at ANarchive@gmail.com .
The list of complications.
Something I was not prepared for [before surgery] is that half my throat is paralyzed, which makes eating difficult. I choke on absolutely everything so my throat stays irritated. My Dr. is sending me to a throat specialist next week.
It might need some of the following procedures:
- plastic surgery of the face;
- hypoglossal anasthomosis (facial nerve graft);
- transplanted soft tissue from roof of mouth to lower eyelid (7-12 graft);
- artificial sling in the jaw;
- botulism toxin (botox) injections;
- face lifts.
Dental problems (caused by conditions due to facial paralysis)
Diminished or destroyed hearing in AN ear (100% loss guaranteed with the translab approach)
Beware: "hearing preservation" can either mean "preserving ALL hearing" or "SOME hearing". Here is more.
Hyperacusis -- a painful sensitivity to loud sounds (in the good ear)
Sudden Hearing Loss
A sudden drop in hearing level can happen to either wait-and-watch or post-radiosurgery patients. It may be reversible if addressed immediately.
Nowadays, operative death is less common than post-op (2-69 days later). Most common reasons are internal bleeding, blood clots, and infections. On the average, there is somewhere around 1% risk of not surviving surgery; your odds depend on your doctor's experience and skill as well as your health factors. Here is what the Michigan Ear Institute writes:
Careful tumor dissection, with the help of an operating microscope, usually avoids complications. If the blood supply to viral brain centers is disturbed, serious complications may result: loss of muscle control, paralysis, even death. In our experience death occurs rarely as the result of the removal of small acoustic tumors and occurs in less than 1% of the larger tumors.
(Note that this statistic is for their own outcomes only; outcomes from less experienced surgeons will be worse).
Multiple complications are often present together, as in these stories:
I severed a 40yr friendship after my best friend told me to "put it out of your mind and move on"! That's easy for someone to say that doesn't deal with the problem day in and day out. Eye problems... balance problems... tinnitus... memory problems... depression... fatigue. Day in and day out. Believe me I am no WIMP.
I had a 1.3 cm AN removed on right side 6 months ago... I still cannot work... Still have terrible headaches... they are very frequent and sometimes very severe. I am off balance a lot... Still having trouble with right eye... my sight is not as good as it used to be... the eye stays dry and I blink a lot. I do not sleep very much. My hearing is lost on the right side, no functional hearing at all... hearing aid will not help... My face is left with some facial palsy... My smile is not the greatest... drool out the right side... But I am alive and doing alright.
I had an acoustic neuroma... surgically removed almost five years ago. I still have slight Bell's palsy on the right side of my face, and of course there is no hearing in my right ear. I also have spasms in my right cheek that are quite uncomfortable... I have headaches every day. My memory isn't at all good either since the surgery. My right eye closes when I eat, watch TV, or read lying down. If I stretch, yawn, or move my head in a certain way, I lose the hearing in my good ear for a few seconds. The tinnitus is still in the dead ear; can it be stopped? I don't feel that my balance has ever returned to normal, I can't ride a bike now and have trouble on uneven surfaces or in a dark room.
When there is a combination of many problems, or for severe cases, Social Security Disability can become necessary. Here is a link to our section about Social Security Disability.
Last Edited: Monday, November 17, 2003