There are three major clinically and genetically distinct forms of neurofibromatosis: neurofibromatosis types 1 and 2 (NF1 and NF2) and schwannomatosis. NF1, also known as von Recklinghausen disease, is the most common type. The hallmarks of NF1 are the multiple café-au-lait macules and neurofibromas. The condition is called segmental NF1 when clinical features are limited to one area of the body. NF has been classified into three distinct types; NF1, NF2 and schwannomatosis.
NF2 is best managed at a specialty clinic with an initial screening and annual follow-up evaluations (more frequent if the disease is severe). Improved diagnostic technologies, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), can reveal tumors of the vestibular nerve as small as a few millimeters in diameter. Vestibular schwannomas grow slowly, but they can grow large enough to engulf one of the eighth cranial nerves and cause brain stem compression and damage to surrounding cranial nerves. Surgical options depend on tumor size and the extent of hearing loss.