Schwannoma (Neurilemoma): What It Is, Causes, Symptoms & Treatment


A schwannoma is a tumor that stems from Schwann cells in the nerve roots or peripheral nervous system. Although they are typically benign (noncancerous), schwannomas can occasionally be malignant (cancerous). They often grow slowly.

Nerve impulses are assisted in their conduction by Schwann cells. They shield and support peripheral nerves by wrapping around them. Your peripheral nervous system consists of nerves that leave your spinal cord and brain to send and receive information throughout your body.

A common area for schwannomas to occur is in the nerve that connects your brain to your inner ear. (vestibular schwannoma). It is quite common for cancerous cells to affect the sciatic nerve of your leg, the brachial plexus nerves in your arm and the group of nerves in your lower back called the sacral plexus.

Schwannomas are also referred to as neurilemmomas or neuromas. In cases where the schwannoma is malignant, it may be referred to as a soft tissue sarcoma.

Schwannomas are 90% solitary, meaning there is only one tumor.