3 Types of Spinal Tumors

3 Types of Spinal Tumors

Tumors in the brain or on the spinal cord are known as central nervous system tumors. The American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) releases annual data about how many people are diagnosed with them. 

The vast majority — between 85% and 90% — of the 359,000 people diagnosed with central nervous system tumors each year have brain tumors. The remaining are spinal tumor sufferers, and they number between 35,900 to 53,850 people, so the good news is they’re relatively rare.

Dr. Benjamin Cohen is especially skilled at spinal tumor treatment and removal, which requires complex surgery. When he treats you for a spinal tumor, you benefit from the care of a highly experienced, yet sensitive healthcare ally who’s in your corner and listens closely to your questions and concerns. This is just one of the many services Dr. Cohen offers. 

Familiarize yourself with spinal tumor symptoms

Although there are quite a few symptoms that point to a spinal tumor, experiencing pain that can’t be linked to a traumatic injury or a degenerative condition like osteoarthritis is by far the most frequently cited by patients. Other symptoms include:

More startling, severe signs of a spinal tumor can emerge as well, including a lack of bladder or bowel control, and even paralysis. 

Though back pain is something most people experience at some point, pain caused by a spinal tumor doesn’t improve, and worsens over time. 

Different types of spinal tumors

There are two broad types of spinal tumors — those that originate in the spine and tumors that originate in another part of the body. They’re primary and secondary tumors, respectively. Secondary tumors often develop as a result of lung, prostate, and breast cancers. 

There are three types of primary spinal tumors, and each grows in a different location within the spinal cord and column:

  1. Intramedullary tumors start developing in the interior of the spinal cord and often form in the neck area; removal is challenging
  2. Vertebral column tumors begin in the discs or vertebral bones and frequently occur in younger people
  3. Intradural-extramedullary tumors emerge inside the spinal canal, outside of the nerves but under membranes that blanket the spinal cord, and usually grow slowly

Fortunately, primary spinal tumors are often benign.

What are viable treatments for patients diagnosed with a primary spinal tumor?

If Dr. Cohen suspects that you may have a spinal tumor, he learns all he can about your medical history and how your symptoms have played out. Once he studies its characteristics, such as whether it’s benign or cancerous and how rapidly it’s growing, and assesses the severity of your symptoms, he creates a customized treatment plan. 

Some tumors grow so much that they cause debilitating pain by putting pressure on your nerves, and they might not even be malignant. In these cases, Dr. Cohen may opt to perform spinal decompression surgery so your nerve roots can be relieved, and follows that up with spinal fusion to strengthen and stabilize your spine.

When Dr. Cohen performs sensitive spinal tumor removal surgery, his goal is to protect your nerves while removing as much of your tumor as possible. If it’s not possible for all of the tumor to be removed, you may receive radiation and/or chemotherapy — either before or after your surgery — to further reduce it. 

In addition to the tumor removal goal, Dr. Cohen does all he can to keep your spine stable and alleviate pain during tumor removal surgery. The ultimate goal is for you to enjoy full mobility and be free from pain again.

Dr. Cohen always attempts to perform spinal tumor surgery using minimally invasive techniques. These procedures require just a few small incisions, unlike traditional surgery. This method is associated with faster healing and reduced pain, bleeding, and scarring. You’re also less likely to develop a post-surgical infection. 

If you’re suffering from persistent back pain, numbness, or other spinal tumor symptoms, call our office to schedule an in-person or telemedicine consultation. You can also reach out to us through our website to book an appointment

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