Benign Peripheral Nerve Tumor

Your peripheral nerves connect your spinal cord, brain, and other body components. These nerves regulate the muscles in your body, allowing you to walk, blink, swallow, pick things up, and do other actions.

The majority of these tumors are not malignant (benign). However, they can cause muscular control loss and nerve damage. This is why it's crucial to visit your doctor if you have any strange lumps, discomfort, tingling or numbness, or muscular weakness.

Benign Peripheral Nerve Tumor: Types

Nerves are impacted by peripheral nerve tumors because they develop inside or against them. Intraneural tumors are peripheral nerve tumors that develop within the nerves. Extraneural tumors are those that push up the nerves. The majority are benign, which means they aren't malignant.

Benign peripheral nerve tumors come in several forms, including the following −


Schwannomas are the most prevalent benign peripheral nerve tumor in adults and can develop practically anywhere in the body. Because Schwann cells, which are cells that surround the nerves, are present in these nerve sheath tumors, they are known as schwannomas. Typically, a fascicle, or solitary bundle of nerve fibers within the main nerve, is the source of a schwannoma. Some schwannomas develop and take on peculiar forms like dumbbell tumors in the spine or pelvis.

When removing a schwannoma successfully, more fascicles are in danger as the tumor develops. Schwannomas often develop on their own. Many of them can occasionally be found in the arms, legs, or body of certain persons. The medical term for this is schwannomatosis.


This typical kind of benign nerve tumor usually develops in the nerve's middle. Multiple nerve bundles may give birth to a neurofibroma, which often has modest symptoms. The majority of individuals with this tumor have neurofibromatosis type 1. (NF1). This hereditary condition results in tumors developing on the nerves. These ailments include visual nerve tumors known as optic gliomas and bone abnormalities like a bent spine. Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors can arise in people with NF1.


This benign, soft lump commonly develops beneath the skin on the neck, shoulders, back, or arms due to slow-growing fat cells. A nerve may be compressed by a lipoma nearby. However, a lipoma often doesn't cause any discomfort or other issues. Your doctor may recommend frequent exams to keep an eye on a lipoma.

Glioma Cyst

While some ganglion cysts are caused by injuries, the majority have no known origin. They frequently develop close to joints, such as the wrist, and can hurt and hinder daily tasks. Some ganglion cysts fade away on their own, but those that impinge on nearby nerves need to be removed.

Benign Peripheral Nerve Tumor: Causes

In most cases, the source of benign peripheral nerve tumors is unknown. A few are handed down via families.

  • Schwannoma is the most prevalent kind of benign peripheral nerve tumor. The major nerve's primary bundle is where schwannomas often begin, displacing the remainder of the nerve.

  • A neurofibroma is an additional common kind. Inside the nerve, a neurofibroma can also develop often. It can develop from several nerve bundles.

  • Rare tumors called perineurium can develop from either inside or outside the nerve. When they impinge on a nerve, tumors outside of the nerve can become problematic.

Other benign tumors that develop away from the nerves include ganglion cysts and lipomas, which are soft lumps of slowly proliferating fat cells.

Benign Peripheral Nerve Tumor: Symptoms

If a benign peripheral nerve tumor presses on the nerve in which it is developing or on neighboring nerves, blood vessels, or tissues, it may produce symptoms.

Even tiny tumors can occasionally produce symptoms; however, symptoms may become more probable as the tumor develops. The tumor's location and the tissues it affects determine the symptoms. Some signs might be:

  • A bulge or swelling under your skin

  • Numbness, tingling, or pain

  • Decrease of strength or functionality in the afflicted region

  • Unsteadiness or balance issues

Benign Peripheral Nerve Tumor: Risk Factors

If you have a family history of neurofibromatosis type 1 or type 2 or have had a medical history of either condition, your chance of developing a benign peripheral nerve tumor is raised. These are hereditary disorders that impact your neurological system and are defined by the growth of benign tumors.

Benign Peripheral Nerve Tumor: Diagnosis

To diagnose benign peripheral nerve tumors, your doctor may suggest the following tests −


The best technique for detecting malignancies of the peripheral nerve is this one. This scan creates a thorough 3D image of the nerves and surrounding tissue using a magnetic field and radio waves. If you have a tumor, it may be possible to tell whether it is inside or outside the nerve by using this test.

CT Scan

To capture a sequence of pictures, a CT scanner revolves around the body. This test is less effective than an MRI at identifying peripheral nerve tumors. However, if an MRI is not an option for you or if further details about the adjacent bone are required, your doctor may advise it.

Electromyogram (EMG)

When you attempt to move a muscle, this test captures the electrical activity that occurs there. It aids in locating the tumor and determining which nerves are affected.

Study of Nerve Conduction

This test will probably be administered in addition to your EMG. It gauges how quickly electrical messages from your nerves reach your muscles.

Cancer Biopsy

Your healthcare practitioner may take a tiny sample of cells (biopsy) from your tumor to remove and examine if imaging tests reveal a nerve tumor. You may require either local or general anesthesia for the biopsy, depending on the size and location of the tumor. The biopsy may be performed with a needle during surgery or with the use of imaging.

Neuro Biopsy

Your doctor could perform a nerve biopsy to assist determine the type of tumor. To do this, a tiny sample of the tissue must be removed and sent to a lab to be examined to check for indications of cancer.

Benign Peripheral Nerve Tumor: Treatment

Peripheral nerve tumors can either be surgically removed or left untreated.

  • You might not require surgery if there is a low chance that the tumor will get malignant and if it isn't bothering you.

  • If the location of your tumor makes removal problematic, your doctor may advise surveillance. Regular check-ups and imaging studies are part of the observation to determine whether the tumor is expanding.

  • If there is a suspicion that the tumor is malignant, surgery can be required. If the tumor is big or causes pain or other symptoms like weakness, numbness, or tingling, surgery may be an option to remove it.

Benign Peripheral Nerve Tumor: Prevention

Radiation treatment is used to treat your symptoms and assist stop the spread of the tumor. A surgical procedure might be combined with it.

Stereoscopic radiosurgery

A procedure called stereotactic body radiation treatment may be performed to minimize harm to healthy tissue if the tumor is close to important nerves or blood arteries.


The majority of tumors that develop on the hand's peripheral nerves are very benign. The best course of treatment for the majority of symptomatic benign peripheral nerve tumors of the hand is complete surgical excision with the greatest possible preservation of remaining neurologic function.

Dr. Durgesh Kumar Sinha
Dr. Durgesh Kumar Sinha


Updated on: 14-Jul-2023


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