Treatment and Prevention of Spinal Tumors

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What are Spinal Tumors?

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

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 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.

Treatments for Spinal Tumors

What are the Non-Surgical Treatments for Spinal Tumors?

Chemotherapy is a form of treatment that aims to target and destroy cancer cells. The drugs may be given orally, intravenously, or via injection. It is often used alongside other treatments such as surgery or radiation therapy. When it comes to treating spinal cancer, it may also be used to:


  • Destroy cancer cells that aren’t accessible through surgery
  • Shrink a tumor before its removal

Address cancer cells which have spread to other areas of the body

Radiation therapy uses beams of intense energy to kill cancer cells. It can be delivered either inside or outside your body. The latter focuses high-energy beams from a machine on a specific location of your body, while the former involves placing a solid implant in or near the cancer.

If the tumor is pressing against the spinal cord, your doctor may prescribe corticosteroid medication or injections to alleviate swelling and pain. It might also be used to reduce the size of the growth and relieve pressure against the spinal cord.

What are the Surgical Treatments for Spinal Tumors?

This surgical procedure is used to remove a tumor in a single, complete piece. It is also done in a way that preserves its outer layer or capsule, to prevent any cancer cells from the tumor from spreading. En bloc resection may be used to eliminate primary tumors such as giant-cell tumors, and chordomas that are located in or next to your spine.

This aims to relieve pressure on your spinal cord and reduce symptoms caused by tumors such as pain, and neurological dysfunction. During the surgery, the surgeon removes or reduces the tumor or other structures, such as bone or ligaments that are pressing on the spinal cord.

This is a minimally invasive procedure which involves inserting a needle through a small incision in the back so medical-grade bone cement can be injected into the damaged vertebral body. This may be done to fill empty spaces left by a removed tumor, reduce pain, and improve mobility.

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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