Spinal tumors are tumors which arise in the spinal cord. Like elsewhere the tumors could be in the vertebral bones or in the spinal cord. The tumors involving the bones could be metastasis, primary bone tumors like chordomas and GCT. Tumors of the spinal cord could be tumors arising from the covering of the spinal cord called meninges or inside the spinal cord.
Classification of Spinal tumors ( based on location):
Depending on their location, the spinal cord tumors can be:
Extradural – outside the dura mater lining (most common)
Intradural – part of the dura
Intramedullary – inside the spinal cord
Extramedullary- inside the dura, but outside the spinal cord
Classification based on histology:
Schwanommas ( neurofibromas)
Astrocytomas and paragangliomas
The symptoms of the tumor are usually due to compression of the cord and present with pain or progressive weakness of the limbs or bladder and bowel weakness. The symptoms are usually due to location of the tumor.
Surgery is the best option for most of the tumors. Extradural and intradural tumors can be excised completely with no major deficits. Intrameducllary tumors like ependymomas can also be excised completely with help of BAER and SSEPs. These advanced equipments along with microsurgical training and microscope help neurosurgeons remove these complex tumors with reduced risk.