Common types of spinal tumors that can cause Back pain

There are three common types of spinal tumors that can cause back pain: vertebral column tumors, intradural-extramedullary tumors, and intramedullary tumors.

1. Vertebral Column Tumors

Primary tumors: These tumors occur in the vertebral column, and grow either from the bone or disc elements of the spine. They typically occur in younger adults. Osteogenic sarcoma is the most common malignant bone tumor. Most primary spinal tumors are quite rare and usually grow slowly. Metastatic tumors: Most often, spinal tumors metastasize (spread) from cancer in another area of the body . These tumors usually produce pain that does not get better with rest, may be worse at night, and is often accompanied by other signs of serious illness (such as weight loss, fever/chills/shakes, nausea or vomiting).

  • In women, spinal tumors most frequently spread from cancer that originates in the breast or lung.
  • In men, spinal tumors most frequently spread from cancer that originates in the prostate or lung.

2. Intradural-Extramedullary Tumors

Intradural-Extramedullary  tumors grow within the spinal canal (under the membrane that covers the spinal cord) but outside of the nerves. Usually these tumors are benign and slow growing. However, they can cause symptoms of pain and weakness.

Most of these spinal tumors are:

  • Meningiomas that occur in the membranes surrounding the spinal cord and are usually benign but may be malignant. These tumors are more common in middle age and elderly women.
  • Nerve sheath tumors (schwannomas and neurofibromas) that arise from the nerve roots that come off the spinal cord. Again, this type of tumor is usually benign and slow growing, and it may be years before any neurological problems occur.

3. Intramedullary Tumors

Intramedullary tumors grow from inside the spinal cord or inside the individual nerves and often arise from the cells that provide physical support and insulation for the nervous system (glial cells). These tumors occur most often in the cervical spine (neck). They tend to be benign, but surgery to remove the tumor may be difficult.

Why surgery for Spine Tumor Removal?

  • To reduce the pain caused by the spinal tumor
  • To restore and preserve neurological function and provide spinal stability.
  • Spinal Tumor surgery is generally indicated in case there is a localized tumor which can be removed with minimum damage to nerve and spinal cord,
  • There is persistent neurological deficit and pain which is unresponsive to non operative treatment
  • There is vertebral bone destruction affecting spinal stability.

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Minimally Invasive Spine Tumor Removal Surgery in India

Tumor is abnormal mass of rapidly growing cells without any physiological function.That means it does not perform any function for the body but derives its nutrition from the body. It can occur anywhere in the body. The cause is unknown. Those tumors that are found in and around the spinal cord are known as spinal tumors. They may be primary tumors whose cells of origin is the spinal tissue, or they may be secondary tumors which have spread (metastasize) via blood stream from some other focus in the body.

The Spinal cord is covered by a layer of protective tissue called as meninges. The entire spinal cord is encased within the vertebral column.

The Spinal tumor are of three types depending on their location:

  • Intramedullary – within the substance of the spinal cord.
  • Intradural-Extramedullary- within the layers (meninges) covering the spinal cord
  • Extradural- between the meninges and the vertebral body. Most of the spinal tumors are extradural.

Tumors are also classified as benign and malignant. Tumors that are confined to a particular area in the body are known as benign tumors. Those tumors that spread rapidly to various parts of the body are known as malignant tumor. A tumor can initially start as a benign one and can convert to a malignant one in a few cases.

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