Spinal tumor is not a common problem and its symptoms resemble those of more common conditions. Hence, it is important that your doctor is well aware of your entire medical history, and perform general, physical and neurological examination.
Spinal tumor is a growth which develops within the spinal canal or the bones of spine. This malignant tumor in spine is also known as intradural tumor can begin within the spinal cord or the covering of the spinal cord. A tumor which affects the bones of the spine or vertebrae is called vertebral tumor.
These are the main types of intradural tumors:
- Intramedullary tumors: It begins in the cells within the spinal cord such as ependymomas, astrocytomas and gliomas
- Extramedullary tumors: They grow either in the membranes surrounding the spinal cord or the nerve roots that reach out from the spinal cord. Some examples are neurofibromas, meningiomas, schwannomas and nerve sheath tumors
- Persistent pain due to tumor growth
- Back pain, which radiates to other parts of the body
- Less sensitive to cold and heat
- Difficulty in walking which may sometimes lead to falls
- Muscle weakness which can be mild or severe
If the doctor suspects a spinal tumor, certain tests can be done to diagnose the same like spinal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computerized tomography (CT) and Biopsy. While the MRI scan and CT scan would just require scanning while in biopsy, the small portion of the tumor is extracted from the body to analyse and determine the type of treatment
There are different treatment options available for spinal tumor.
- Monitoring: Keeping a watch on the type of spinal tumor and how it intends to grow can help the doctor to make further decisions. Some small tumors may be pressing to the spinal cord but won’t grow further. Such tumors need to be monitored, which is all needed
- Spine tumor surgery: This treatment option is to remove the tumor with an acceptable risk of spinal cord or nerve injury damage, before it further worsens. Newer equipments and monitors help the surgeons remove the tumor in accuracy
- Radiation therapy: Even though the tumor is surgically removed; there is a high chance of some leftover. Hence radiation therapy ensures that the entire malignant tumor is removed
- Chemotherapy: This treatment is used mainly to treat many types of cancer to destroy cancer cells and prevent them from growing further
- Other drugs: Surgery and radiation therapy may cause inflammation in spinal cord. Hence oral medicines are prescribed for pain relief
Dr Jwalant S Mehta is a consultant spinal surgeon who has specialized in treating spinal conditions and deformities. Dr Mehta is experienced in treating many spinal conditions deformities like Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis, Neuromuscular Scoliosis, Adult Spinal Deformity, Early onset scoliosis and Scoli Zone.
You can approach Dr Mehta for spinal tumor related queries, treatments and consultations. Please contact the clinic directly for appointments.