Unlike tumors found in other parts of the body, primary spine tumors (those which originate in the spine) are relatively rare. Most common in younger adults, these tumors often tend to be slow-growing and benign (non-cancerous). Most cases of spinal tumors have usually metastasized (spread) from another part of the body. With proper diagnosis, an orthopedic spine surgeon expert can help determine the appropriate treatment method for a spinal tumor or any other spinal condition. Dr. Khurana, in conjunction with the surgical team at Marina del Rey Hospital, uses a wide variety of imaging techniques in order to provide a thorough diagnosis of your condition. Once completed, minimally invasive surgical techniques can provide you with the treatment you need, which is followed by hospital concierge care dedicated to your successful recovery.
What are the Symptoms of Spinal Growths?
Everyone experiences neck or back pain at some point or another, and aches and pains alone rarely indicate the presence of tumors. Back and neck pain accompanied by other symptoms may indicate the possibility of spine tumors. Some of the general symptoms include:
Neck and/or back pain accompanied by:
- Numbness or weakness in the arms or legs
- Change in bladder or bowel habits
- Spine pain that appears to worsen in the morning
Back or neck pain accompanied by:
- Appetite loss
- Unexplained weight loss
- Chills or shakes
Because primary spinal tumors are relatively uncommon, patients diagnosed with malignant (cancerous) spine tumors will typically undergo further tests and exams on other major organs to determine whether the tumors have metastasized from another part of the body.
Please visit the spinal tumor page at AANS.org to learn more about the condition.
What are the Different Types of Spinal Tumors?
There are three main types of spinal tumors:
In cases of primary tumors, the rarer form that originates in the spine and has not spread from cancer in another part of the body, the tumor usually forms from the bone (vertebrae) or a disc. The most common form of malignant bone tumors are osteosarcomas, and the most common source of metastatic spine tumors are breast and lung cancer in women and prostate and lung cancer in men.
Intradural-extramedullary tumors grow under the membrane around the spinal canal, outside of the nerves. This type of spinal tumor tends to be benign and slow-growing, but patients can experience symptoms of numbness, pain, and weakness as a result.
Intradural-extramedullary tumors mostly consist of two types:
Meningiomas – Meningioma tumors grow in the membranes surrounding the spinal cord. Most cases are benign, but can also be malignant. Most common in middle age and elderly women.
Nerve sheath tumors – Known as schwannomas and neurofibromas, nerve sheath tumors originate in the nerves at the base of the spinal column. They are usually benign and slow-growing, and patients can go years before experiencing any symptoms.
Intramedullary tumors are most commonly found in the cervical spine region (neck). They originate inside the spinal cord or nerves, and most cases tend to be benign. The most common types of intramedullary tumors are astrocytomas and ependymomas.
What are my Treatment Options?
Treatment options for spine tumors will vary from case to case and depend on the patient, type, and location of the tumor. Possible treatment plans include tumor excision. Anyone experiencing persistent back pain with additional symptoms should contact a spine specialist. A spine expert can obtain an accurate diagnosis and determine an appropriate treatment plan.
Next, learn about spondylolisthesis.