Spinal Cord Tumors

Spinal Cord Tumors

A spinal cord tumor is a growth that develops in the spinal cord or its coverings. It is also called intradural tumor

Types of spinal cord tumors

  • Benign: these tumors are non cancerous and can be surgically removed completely. They have very good prognosis.
  • Malignant: these tumors arise within the spinal cord and recur after surgical removal. Prognosis is guarded.

They can also be classified depending on their location

  • Intramedullary tumors arising within the spinal cord. Majority of them are malignant,
  • Extra medullary tumors arising from the covering of the spinal cord. They compress the spinal; cord and produce symptoms. They are all benign.

Causes and risk factors

It is not clear why these tumors develop. Some say defective genes may be the cause. What is not certain is whether these defective genes are inherited or caused by the influence of environment. They are some risk factors like neurofibromatosis 2 and Von Hippel Lindau disease, which cause spinal cord tumors.

What are the symptoms?

  • Pain at the site of tumor
  • Back pain with radiation to lower limbs
  • Absence of sensitivity to pain, heat and cold
  • Loss of bowel and bladder functions
  • Difficulty in walking with frequent falls
  • Back pain that is worse in the nights
  • Loss of sensation and muscle weakness in arms and legs

When to see a doctor?

  • Back pain if progressive and persistent
  • Back pain that is more at nights
  • Back pain that is not related to any activity
  • Progressive muscle weakness and numbness in arms and legs
  • Changes in bladder and bowel functions

How does one diagnose?

  • Proper clinical history and good clinical examination
  • MRI with contrast enhancement. It outlines the tumor well from the surrounding structures.

What are the treatment modalities?

  • Surgery is the mainstay in the treatment. With technological advances like microsurgery and CUSA the morbidity of the surgery has come down remarkably. The use of intra operative neuro monitoring further improves the results.
  • Radiotherapy and chemotherapy can be used as adjuvants.
  • Steroids will help reduces the swelling of the spinal cord and help in good surgical outcome.

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Dr. Sai Sudarsan

Apollo Clinics
Mahal Residency
Opp SAD Hospital


Call / Whatsapp: +91-9534200013

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