Spine Tumors

Spinal tumors are relatively rare and typically arise from the membranes surrounding the spinal cord or from the nerve tissues of the cord itself. Tumors arising from the membranes of the spine – the dura – include intradural-extramedullary masses and meningiomas. These tumors are typically benign and slow growing. Typical treatments include monitoring tumor growth, or radiosurgery. Similar approaches are used to treat tumors of the nerve tissues such as neurofibromas or schwannomas which are also usually benign, but may turn malignant over time.

Surgical treatments involve a laminectomy, where an incision is made and the rear portions of the vertebrae are removed and the tumor is taken out. A biopsy of the tumor is done to determine malignancy. Patients are usually able to go home within a day of surgery and may require follow-up pain medication or physical therapy to help guide return back to full activities. Patients with malignant tumors are typically assigned to radiation treatments to prevent regrowth of the tumor.

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