Spinal Tumors

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Explore Your Spinal Tumor Treatment Options

A spinal tumor is an unwanted and uncontrollable growth that develops within the spinal canal, the vertebrae of the spinal column, or the spinal cord. Spinal cord tumors are characterized based on the location of their growth, i.e., whether they’re within or outside the spinal cord. Furthermore, tumors from other parts of the body can also metastasize and grow into the vertebrae or spinal cord, leading to severe pain, mobility problems, neurological problems, and possible paralysis.

Types of Spinal Tumors

  • Primary Tumors: Primary tumors originate in the spinal column. They might be benign or malignant, and they rarely spread outside the nervous system. The tumor may develop from the vertebrae, the coverings of the spinal cord, or from the spinal nerves.
  • Secondary Tumors: Secondary tumors originate in other parts of the body outside the spine, and they gradually spread and grow into the spinal vertebrae or spinal cord. All secondary tumors are metastatic and malignant tumors.

Spinal Tumors: Symptoms

The specific symptoms of spinal tumors depend on the location of the tumors, their size, and how they interact with other components of the spine. Tumors on the cervical region usually lead to neck pain, with radiating symptoms on the arms and hands, whereas tumors on the lumbar region lead to lower back pain. Chronic back pain is one of the most common symptoms of benign or malignant spinal tumors.

The following are some of the symptoms of spinal tumors:

  • Back pain that spreads to the hips, legs, and feet
  • Stiff neck or back
  • Pain and tingling sensations that travel down the arms or legs
  • Loss of sensation and mobility in the arms or legs
  • Gradual weakening of the muscles in the arms or legs
  • Instability and difficulty while walking, increasing the risk of falls
  • Reduced sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures
  • Deformities of the spine because of a large tumor
  • Loss of bowel or bladder functionality
  • Varying degrees of paralysis, depending on the location of the tumor

Spinal Tumor Locations

  • Extradural: Extradural tumors are located outside the spinal cord and its coverings, known as the dura. They account for 55% of all spinal tumors, usually caused by metastatic cancer, necessitating surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation.
  • Intradural-Extramedullary: Intradural-extramedullary tumors are inside the dura but outside the spinal cord, and they’re usually benign growths. Some of these growths originate at the nerve roots (neurofibromas and schwannomas), and others originate at the dura (meningiomas).
  • Intramedullary: Intramedullary tumors are located inside the spinal cord, and they account for only 5% of all spinal tumors. The following are the common types of intramedullary spinal tumors — astrocytomas, ependymomas, and hemangioblastomas.

Spinal Tumors: Treatments

Dr. Kakoulides performs a thorough diagnosis via CT scans and MRIs to confirm the location of your spinal tumor. If the tumor is benign, the spine surgeon may recommend observing its symptoms to ensure it doesn’t grow further. But if the tumor is large and malignant, Dr. Kakoulides will curate a personalized treatment plan based on the tumor’s location, size, and nature. Treatments may include surgery, radiation therapy, and/or chemotherapy.

Contact Dr. George Kakoulides

Dr. George Kakoulides is a board-certified neurosurgeon specializing in minimally invasive spine surgery. He has decades of experience with the surgical removal of spinal tumors using cutting-edge minimally invasive techniques that ensure optimal results and involve minimal downtime. He is an affiliate of Long Island Brain & Spine, and he has performed thousands of minimally invasive spine surgeries for patients across New York. Please schedule an appointment to explore your spinal tumor treatment options.