The diagnosis of peripheral nerve tumor often starts with discussing the symptoms, assessing the medical and family history, and performing a physical examination. Additional tests may be required to determine the location and kind of peripheral nerve tumor.
These tests may include:
- MRI: This test can assist in determining if there is a presence of peripheral nerve tumors and whether it is inside or outside the nerve. A magnetic field and radio waves are used in this scan to provide a detailed 3D image of the nerves and surrounding tissue.
- CT scan: This medical imaging can provide more information about the nearby bone where the peripheral nerve tumor is. Detailed images are collected through a scanner that spins around the body.
- Electromyogram (EMG): It is utilized to aid in the location of the tumor and the identification of which nerves are implicated. This test measures electrical activity during muscle movement or stimulation.
- Nerve conduction study: This test evaluates how rapidly the nerves transmit electrical information to the muscles. It is usually done along with the EMG.
- Tumor biopsy: The biopsy might be performed with a needle and imaging, or it could be performed during surgery. This procedure involves the removal of a sample of tissue for microscopic inspection to determine what types of cells are present in the tumor. Depending on the size and location of the tumor, local or general anesthetic might be needed.
- Nerve biopsy: Nerve biopsy assists in determining the type of tumor. This entails collecting a small tissue sample and sending it to a lab to be analyzed for signs of cancer.
The treatment for peripheral nerve tumors depends on whether it is causing symptoms or if it has a chance of becoming malignant. Generally, tumors are treated either surgically or by observation.
Regular monitoring is advised if the tumor is at a location that makes surgical removal difficult. Checkups and imaging tests will reveal whether the tumor is growing or changing. If the growth is suspected to be malignant, surgery may be required.
Surgery is often the only choice for symptomatic tumors. If the tumor is large or causes pain or other symptoms like weakness, numbness, or tingling, it may be surgically removed.