The word “tumor” stirs worry in everyone, but don’t panic — further testing reveals what you’re dealing with.
If a tumor is benign, it’s not cancerous, and if it’s malignant or cancerous, it calls for an individualized treatment plan that typically involves a combination of treatments, including surgery to remove the tumor, chemotherapy, or radiation. Other treatments include immunotherapy, targeted therapy, and hormone therapy.
A spinal tumor causes specific symptoms, and seeing a specialist is essential.
Board-certified neurosurgeon Dr. Benjamin Cohen has successfully treated patients suffering from spinal tumors thanks to his years of experience and meticulous approach. By placing yourself in his care, you can feel confident you’ll receive the most advanced and compassionately delivered treatment possible.
There’s more than one type of spinal tumor
There are two broad categories of spinal tumors: primary and secondary. A primary tumor originates in your spinal cord or column, while a metastatic tumor starts elsewhere. For example, if lung cancer spreads to your spine, your spine would be the secondary site of the cancer.
There are three types of primary spinal tumors — intramedullary spinal tumors, vertebral column tumors, and intradural-extramedullary spinal tumors.
An intramedullary spinal tumor develops inside the spine, and a vertebral column tumor grows in the vertebral discs or bones.
The intradural-extramedullary spinal tumor originates in the spinal canal and under membranes that envelop the spinal cord but are outside the nerves.
When a spinal tumor is causing your back pain
Spinal tumors cause various symptoms because they put pressure on the spinal cord in varying degrees, depending on their size and location. As a tumor grows, symptoms worsen. Spinal tumors cause:
- Back pain that’s not related to a degenerative condition like arthritis or trauma
- Arm and/or leg tingling or numbness
- Loss of sensation in the chest
- Reduced ability to feel cold, heat, and pain
- Arm and/or leg weakness
- Hip pain
- Loss of bladder or bowel function in severe cases
- In men, erectile dysfunction
As symptoms progress, mobility problems occur, and even paralysis is possible.
Spinal tumor treatment provides real and lasting relief
The location of the spinal tumor, and whether it’s primary or secondary, influences the treatment plan Dr. Cohen creates. Surgery is possible whether you have a primary or secondary tumor, and Dr. Cohen always considers your circumstances, symptoms, and the rate of the tumor’s growth as he outlines his advised course of treatment.
The more a spinal tumor compresses the spinal nerves, the more severe pain and discomfort become. The surgery aims to relieve that compression by excising as much of the tumor as possible. When he cannot remove the tumor completely, Dr. Cohen may recommend chemotherapy and radiation complementary treatments to surgery.
As you can imagine, spinal decompression is a delicate, exacting procedure that requires great precision. When successful, it can ease or completely end nerve root pain, but the other vital goal is preserving nerve function.
Once he removes a tumor, however, Dr. Cohen might need to perform spinal fusion if he determines your spine needs strengthening and stabilization. The procedure:
- Connects two or more of your adjoining vertebrae
- Makes it impossible for any movement between the vertebrae to take place
- Involves applying a bone graft and using metal screws, rods, and plates
- Utilizes your own cells or biocompatible material can be used for the graft
- Helps stimulate bone growth through the use of the graft
- Allows the connected bones to grow toward the graft, stabilizing the spine
Many patients are candidates for minimally invasive surgery, which requires smaller incisions than traditional open surgery and allows Dr. Cohen to perform the procedure with a higher degree of precision.
Minimally invasive procedures are linked to faster healing and less pain, bleeding, and scarring.
Don’t delay seeking care if you have back pain not associated with an injury or a condition like arthritis or spinal stenosis.
Book an in-person or telemedicine appointment with Dr. Cohen by calling our Garden City office at 516-246-5008. You may also schedule an appointment online. As we like to say here, getting treated by Dr. Cohen will help you get your lie back!