Asked by
in Boston, Massachusetts

Where I should have the surgery done? Intracranial benign brain tumor (Most likely Vestibular Schwannoma)

Hi everyone, I was recently diagnosed with an intracranial benign brain tumor. Report suggests that it could be vestibular schwannoma(report said this is the most common and favored) or meningioma. Also, in the report it is said that it is touching my pons(which I think is nothing but brain stem). Tumor size given to me are 1.8 x 2.5 x 1.8 cm (transverse, AP and craniocaudal dimensions respectively).

Right now my symptoms are:

  1. Loss of feeling on my left side of my face(tongue, cheek, ears, lips, forehead and head).
  2. Some kind of a whooshing sound in my left ear.
  3. Headaches and neck pains

I am in the Boston area, any idea where I should have the surgery done and any idea about the medical scene here?


The issue with brain tumors is that even when benign, their position and slow growth over time can result in problems, like the kind you are reporting. I am an oncologist in the Boston area, and I think the first thing is to get an opinion (or 2) about whether the tumor is able to be removed safely by surgery. The medical care in Boston is excellent, and there are 3 main hospitals to consider:

  1. Mass General
  2. Brighams & Womens (connected with Dana Farber), and
  3. Beth-Israel (BIDMC).

I would suggest getting an opinion at 2 of the 3.

You might consider: Bob Carter, MD, PhD and E. Antonio Chiocca, MD, PhD, but really first available and covered by your insurance should be fine.

I would also strongly recommend you get seen at Mass General Proton Beam Center, so they can assess you for proton beam treatment - they are one of the originals and really have put this technology to full use (plus only one available in the area).

Based on the tumor's location, you may find that proton beam is the best approach for you and you could see Paul Chapman, MD. Best wishes to you and let us know how it turns out or if more guidance is needed.

Best Wishes,
Jason Sager, MD