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Symptom, Causes and Diagnosis of Spinal Tumors

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A spinal tumor is an abnormal growth of cells that can be found within or around your spinal cord. While spinal growths can happen in any part of the spine, they are more commonly found in the thoracic and lumbar regions.

Spinal Tumors | Avant Orthopaedicss

These growths are categorised based on their location along the spine and within the spinal column. They can also be labelled as either benign or malignant and further divided into primary tumors and secondary (metastatic) tumors.

Primary spinal tumors originate in the spinal column, such as by developing in its bones, discs, nerves, cells, or membranes in the spine. They are usually benign and are more prevalent in those from younger age groups. Examples of these growths include meningioma, a slow-growing tumor that forms in the meninges, and schwannomas, growths which originate from the lining of nerve roots.

Metastatic tumors, on the other hand, are caused by cancer cells that spread through the bloodstream or lymphatic system to the spine from other primary cancer sites. This is the most common type of spinal cancer and it is likely to be malignant as well as aggressive. Areas where these cells are more likely to spread include the lung, breast, and prostate.

 

Furthermore, spinal growths can also be classified into three different categories based on their location:

 

Extradural

Extradural tumors are growths that form in the space between the outer covering of the spinal cord (dura) and the bones of the spine (vertebrae). They are often attributed to metastatic cancer, having spread to the spine from other locations of the body.

 

Intramedullary

Intramedullary tumors can be found inside the spinal cord and typically develop from glial cells. They are usually slow-growing and tend to be benign, compared to other types of spinal growths. However, due to their location being within the spinal cord, attempts to surgically remove them can be difficult.

 

Extramedullary

Extramedullary tumors can develop within the membranes covering the spinal cord (meninges) or in the nerve roots that extend from the spinal cord. While they do not grow within the spinal cord, these may cause symptoms by compressing the spinal cord or nerve roots.

Spinal Tumors Symptoms | Avant Orthopaedics

What are the Symptoms of Spinal Tumors?

The symptoms caused by spinal tumors depend on several factors such as their size, location, and type. When the condition is in its early stages, it is not uncommon for them to not display any symptoms. Therefore, this condition may remain undetected until they grow in size and begin to affect the spinal cord and/or nerves around them. In some instances these tumors are discovered as an incidental finding when the patient undergoes investigative imagings for unrelated condition.

Extradural tumors are growths that form in the space between the outer covering of the spinal cord (dura) and the bones of the spine (vertebrae). They are often attributed to metastatic cancer, having spread to the spine from other locations of the body.

Intramedullary tumors can be found inside the spinal cord and typically develop from glial cells. They are usually slow-growing and tend to be benign, compared to other types of spinal growths. However, due to their location being within the spinal cord, attempts to surgically remove them can be difficult.

Extramedullary tumors can develop within the membranes covering the spinal cord (meninges) or in the nerve roots that extend from the spinal cord. While they do not grow within the spinal cord, these may cause symptoms by compressing the spinal cord or nerve roots.

What are the Causes of Spinal Tumors?

This is a common symptom associated with both benign and malignant spinal tumors. The pain can vary in intensity and character, often described as aching, sharp, or stabbing. It may be localised to the area of the spine where the tumor is located or may radiate to other parts of the body, such as the hips, legs, or arms.

 

In some cases, the pain caused by spinal tumors can be severe and debilitating, affecting daily activities and quality of life. It is important to consult with a doctor if you experience persistent or worsening back pain, especially if it is accompanied by other symptoms that indicate a spinal tumor.

If a spinal tumor is large or destructive, it can lead to spinal deformities such as scoliosis and kyphosis. These deformities result from the abnormal growth of the tumor, which can cause the spine to curve or bend in unnatural ways.

 

Spinal deformities caused by tumors can also have a significant impact on a person's quality of life, affecting their physical function, self-image, and overall well-being. They can also cause a range of symptoms such as respiratory issues, stiffness, and back pain.

Spinal Tumors Diagnosed | Avant Orthopaedics

How are Spinal Tumors Diagnosed?

Metastatic tumors, on the other hand, are caused by cancer cells that spread through the bloodstream or lymphatic system to the spine from other primary cancer sites. This is the most common type of spinal cancer and it is likely to be malignant as well as aggressive. Areas where these cells are more likely to spread include the lung, breast, and prostate.

Furthermore, spinal growths can also be classified into three different categories based on their location:

Extradural tumors are growths that form in the space between the outer covering of the spinal cord (dura) and the bones of the spine (vertebrae). They are often attributed to metastatic cancer, having spread to the spine from other locations of the body.

Intramedullary tumors can be found inside the spinal cord and typically develop from glial cells. They are usually slow-growing and tend to be benign, compared to other types of spinal growths. However, due to their location being within the spinal cord, attempts to surgically remove them can be difficult.

Extramedullary tumors can develop within the membranes covering the spinal cord (meninges) or in the nerve roots that extend from the spinal cord. While they do not grow within the spinal cord, these may cause symptoms by compressing the spinal cord or nerve roots.

Are you or a Loved One Suffering from Spinal Tumors? | Avant Orthopaedics

Are you or a Loved One Suffering from Spinal Tumors?

Spinal tumors can lead to a range of symptoms such as pain, numbness, and difficulty walking. This can affect not only the quality of life but may also spread to other parts of the body if the growths happen to be malignant. If you suspect that you or a loved one has spinal tumors, contact us at Avant Orthopaedics to receive a personalised consultation and learn more about the treatments available.

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