Nerve Sheath Tumor

Nerve = one of the fibers that connects the body with the brain and spinal cord
Sheath = a close-fitting layer of insulation
Tumor = abnormal growth

Nerve sheath tumors originate from the insulating layer, or sheath, around nerves.

Nerve sheath tumors may arise on any nerve in the body, including the cranial nerves, the spinal nerves, and the peripheral nerves (nerves outside the brain and spinal cord). At the Spine Hospital at the Neurological Institute of New York, we specialize in treating spinal nerve sheath tumors.

Nerve sheath tumors tend to be benign, or noncancerous. They usually grow slowly. However, even benign nerve sheath tumors must be treated if they grow large enough to interfere with the underlying nerve or nearby spinal cord. At the Spine Hospital at the Neurological Institute, our neurosurgeons have a great deal of experience designing treatment plans for individual patients and, when necessary, removing the nerve sheath tumor.

The most common types of nerve sheath tumors are schwannomas and neurofibromas. In most patients, the cause of these tumors is unknown. These are called “sporadic” cases.

Nerve sheath tumors may also occur in families with inherited conditions known as Neurofibromatoses. Neurofibromatosis has three forms: Neurofibromatosis Type I (NF I), Neurofibromatosis Type II (NF II), and Schwannomatosis. Neurofibromas occur in patients with NF 1, while schwannomas occur in patients with NF II and Schwannomatosis.