Primary facial nerve tumors, which are relatively uncommon, can present a diagnostic dilemma based on their location and variable pattern of symptoms. Of primary cranial nerve tumors, schwannomas of the facial nerve rank third in frequency after those of the eighth and fifth cranial nerves. We report an illustrative case of an intracanalicular schwannoma associated with several central nervous system tumors, consistent with neurofibromatosis type 2. Initially assumed to be an eighth cranial nerve tumor, the schwannoma was found intraoperatively to arise from the facial nerve. Early diagnosis and treatment enabled excision of the tumor without sacrifice of the facial nerve. Facial nerve schwannomas can resemble acoustic schwannomas in their clinical presentation. Only a heightened level of clinical vigilance will point to the correct diagnosis and result in an optimal therapeutic outcome for patients with these rare tumors.
Saada AA, Limb CJ, Long DM, Niparko JK. Intracanalicular Schwannoma of the Facial Nerve: A Manifestation of Neurofibromatosis Type 2. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2000;126(4):547–549. doi:10.1001/archotol.126.4.547
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