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Spinal Tumors Specialist

George Kakoulides, MD -  - Board Certified Neurosurgeon

George Kakoulides, MD

Board Certified Neurosurgeon located in West Islip, Huntington, Smithtown, NY, & Long Island, NY

The earliest sign of a spinal tumor is usually back pain that’s not associated with a musculoskeletal problem. If you develop a spinal tumor, you can depend on the expertise of George Kakoulides, MD, for the most advanced and effective treatment. As a board-certified neurosurgeon, Dr. Kakoulides has years of experience surgically removing spinal tumors while also managing your comprehensive medical care. If you have questions or you’d like to schedule an appointment, call one of the offices in West Islip, Huntington, and Smithtown, New York, or book an appointment online.

Spinal Tumors

What are the types of spinal tumors?

Spinal tumors occur when cells in and around the spinal cord grow uncontrollably. All spinal tumors are either primary or secondary:

Primary tumors

Primary tumors originate in the spine, where they may be benign or malignant and seldom spread beyond the central nervous system. They may arise from bones in the spinal column, from the coverings of the spinal cord, or develop in the spinal cord and nerves.

Secondary tumors

Secondary tumors are caused by metastatic cancer that began in another part of your body and spread to the spinal cord.

What symptoms develop due to spinal tumors?

Back pain is the most common symptom of benign and malignant tumors. The pain may spread to your hips, legs, feet, or arms and you can develop other symptoms, such as:

  • Stiff back or neck
  • Pain and tingling that travel down your arms and/or legs
  • Loss of sensation in your arms or legs
  • Progressive muscle weakness in your arms or legs
  • Difficulty walking, resulting in falls
  • Diminished sensitivity to heat and cold
  • Spinal deformity due to a large tumor
  • Loss of bowel or bladder function

You may also develop varying degrees of paralysis in the part of your body associated with the spinal nerves affected by the tumor.

How are spinal tumors treated?

After an MRI or CT scan to confirm the location of your tumor, Dr. Kakoulides may recommend closely observing a benign tumor if your symptoms are mild and the tumor isn’t growing or spreading. 

Decisions about surgical treatment depend on variables such as whether it’s primary or metastatic and the tumor’s location.

Spinal tumor location is defined as follows:


Extradural tumors are outside the spinal cord and its covering called the dura. About 55% of all spinal tumors are extradural and they’re usually caused by metastatic cancer. 

Depending on the type of extradural tumor, your treatment may include surgery, radiation, and/or chemotherapy. For example, lymphoma responds well to radiation treatment.


Intradural-extramedullary tumors are outside the spinal cord but inside the dura. They’re usually benign growths. Neurofibromas and schwannomas begin in the nerve roots, while meningiomas arise from the spinal cord covering. 

Intradural-extramedullary tumors can be difficult to remove, but they’re often curable with surgery.


Intramedullary tumors are inside the spinal cord, where they account for 5% of all spinal tumors. The most common types of intramedullary tumors are astrocytomas, ependymomas, and hemangioblastomas. They’re usually benign and treated with surgical removal.

To learn more about expert treatment for spinal tumors, call George Kakoulides, MD, or book an appointment online.