Benign peripheral nerve tumor

A tumor is an abnormal growth of the tissue. Benign peripheral nerve tumors occur anywhere in the peripheral nerve network of your body. These tumors affect the functions of the nerve, leading to pain and disability. The benign peripheral nerve tumors are very rare and occur mostly in the young and older individuals.

Your brain and spinal cord are linked with the other parts of the body through the peripheral nerves. The peripheral nerves control the functions of movement and motor coordination.

Types of benign peripheral nerve tumors

Benign peripheral nerve tumors include:

  • Schwannoma: The schwannomas are the benign tumors that originate from the Schwann cells located around the nerves. In many cases, schwannomas are solitary.

  • Perineurioma: The perineurioma is a rare type of tumor that affects perineurial cells. These type of cells are located around the peripheral nerve sheath.

  • Neurofibroma: The neurofibroma is a bulging of your skin. The lump consists of Schwann cells, perineurial cells, and the fibroblasts.

Causes

The exact cause of benign peripheral nerve tumor remains unknown. It is believed that certain gene mutations may lead to this condition. The research studies are being performed to discover the cause of these gene mutations.

Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of the benign peripheral nerve tumor include the formation of palpable mass that involves peripheral nerve, pain, and loss of nerve function. The small-sized tumors remain asymptomatic and show no symptoms.

Risk factors

The risk of benign peripheral nerve tumor is increased if you have a family history or had a medical history of neurofibromatosis type 1 and neurofibromatosis type 2. These are the genetic conditions characterized by the formation of benign tumors which affect your nervous system.

Prevention

You should adopt the following measures to prevent benign peripheral tumors.

  • Maintaining a healthy weight

  • Exercising regularly

  • Smoking cessation

  • Limiting the alcohol consumption or completely avoiding it

  • Following a balanced-diet and increasing the fiber intake

  • Diagnosis

    The diagnosis begins with the physical examination and by taking a detailed medical history. If your doctor suspects benign peripheral nerve tumor, the following diagnostic tests are recommended.

    • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): The MRI scan provides a 3-dimensional view of your peripheral nerves and the surrounding tissues.

    • Computerized tomography (CT): A CT scan provides a detailed view of your peripheral nerve tumor and helps your doctor in choosing an appropriate treatment option.

    • Electromyogram (EMG): An EMG involves placing small needles in the muscles and recording the electrical activity of your muscle.

    • Nerve conduction study: The nerve conduction study is combined with EMG. The test measures the speed of transmitting electrical signal into your muscles.

    • Tumor biopsy: A small sample of the tumor is removed to examine under the microscope.

    • Nerve biopsy: Your doctor may recommend nerve biopsy if you have progressive peripheral neuropathy or any other nerve disorder that resemble a nerve tumor.

    Treatment

    If you’re diagnosed with benign peripheral nerve tumor, your doctor may suggest either observation or surgery. The observation involves periodic examination and serial imaging. If the tumor is large enough and causes severe pain, then a surgical excision would be the treatment of choice.

    If the surgery is performed in your leg or a hand, then a splint or a brace is used to keep them in place. Your doctor may recommend certain painkillers to reduce pain.