A neurofibroma is a benign, slow growing tumor derived from the nerve sheath of a peripheral nerve. They are often found in individuals with Neurofibromatosis Type I, an autosomal dominant genetically inherited disease.  They can result in a wide range of symptoms from physical disfiguration and pain to cognitive disability.  Spinal neurofibromas can affect spinal nerve roots and result in pain, numbness and tingling, or weakness in the arm or leg.  A spinal neurofibroma may also affect the spinal cord and cause gradual or abrupt irreversible neurologic damage.  Damage is usually due to pressure and inflammation that results from growth of the neurofibroma.

Symptoms of Neurofibromas

Spinal neurofibromas are often asymptomatic.  When symptoms are present, they usually include pain and/or sensory changes in the distribution of the affected nerve root.  In more severe cases, weakness in the affected limb can occur.  Patients with multiple lesions often experience symptoms affecting more than one area of the body.  Five to ten percent of neurofibromas undergo malignant change, which may be indicated by rapid growth.

Treatment for Neurofibromas

Neurofibromas are slow growing.  Asymptomatic lesions usually do not require treatment.  Surgery can be performed for symptomatic lesions. However, since neurofibromas tend to encase the nerve roots, they usually cannot be dissected from the parent nerve without sacrificing the nerve.  Therefore, complete resection may not be possible.  Alternatively, noninvasive stereotactic radiosurgery may be used in an effort to destroy the tumor without affecting the parent nerve.  For symptomatic lesions, your neurosurgeon should review both your surgical and non-surgical treatment options.

At Princeton Neurological Surgery, Dr. Lipani is a board certified fellowship trained spine surgeon in New Jersey who performs minimally invasive spine surgery as well as complex spinal procedures. Dr. Lipani is a specialist in the treatment for neurofibroma and many other spinal conditions such as spinal stenosis, herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, low back pain, neck pain, spinal tumors, spinal cancer and more. Dr. Lipani treats patients from around the world, New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey including locally from Princeton, New Brunswick, Hopewell, Pennington and communities throughout Somerset, Middlesex, Ocean, Burlington, Monmouth and Mercer Counties for neurofibroma. Dr. Lipani offers image guided spine surgery approaches and the latest in noninvasive radiosurgery procedures for neurofibroma treatment, tailored to the needs of each patient. For state-of-the-art neurofibroma treatment, or to learn about CyberKnife radiosurgery, call or email us to schedule a consultation at our offices in Hamilton, New Jersey or Bridgewater, New Jersey!

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