Tumors of the Spine

Tumors of the spine are usually metastatic, meaning they originate from a primary tumor elsewhere in the body and spread to the spine via the lymph nodes or bloodstream.

Tumors can grow into the spinal cord causing neurological problems. In addition, tumors may destroy vertebral bodies causing collapse and thus, local or radiating pain.

Symptoms

  • Back pain caused by destroyed bone
  • Radiating leg pain or weakness
  • Neurological problems

Causes

  • Growth of a primary tumor in a vertebral body
  • Spread of distant primary organ tumors to the spine
  • Growth of tumors into spinal canal
  • Collapse of vertebral bodies causing nerve pressure

Treatment

Nonsurgical Treatment

Chemotherapy and radiation are sometimes needed.

Surgery can be considered for those who do not improve.

Surgical Treatment

Anterior Vertebral Body Replacement

Surgical instruments are used to remove tumor and affected vertebrae. Once the tumor is removed, a metal implant is inserted to provide stability and replace the void caused by the removed tumor.

Laminectomy and Instrumentation

Performed when a tumor has spread to the spine and is pushing on the spinal cord. The laminectomy removes a portion of the bone pushing on the nerves or spinal cord causing pain. Instrumentation is often used to provide additional stability.

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