Spine tumor is the abnormal growth of the cells around the spinal cord. Primary spine tumours are those which arise or originate from the spinal cord or the spine. According to the place of origin they may be termed as cervical (neck), thoracic (mid-back) or lumbosacral (low back). The point of origin may be any – spinal roots, spinal cord itself, the vertebrae (bones) or the dural sac which surrounds the spinal cord.
Types of Spinal Tumour
1. Vertebral Column Tumors:
These tumors involve the bony vertebral column and are usually metastatic. That is the original, or primary, tumor arose in another organ.
2. Intradural-Extramedullary Tumors:
This subset of tumours are mainly comprised of meningiomas and nerve sheath tumours. Meningiomas are most common in middle aged to elderly women. They arise from the arachoid mater which is a thin covering layer of the spinal cord, located inside the dura. Nerve sheath tumours are further comprised of schwannomas and neurofibromas. These arise from the nerve roots which come off the spinal cord. These types of tumours (meningiomas and nerve sheath tumours) are usually benign.
3. Intramedullary Tumors:
These tumors usually arise from supporting cells (glia) within the substance of the spinal cord itself. Astrocytomas and ependymomas account for the majority and occur with about equal frequency. Hemangioblastomas are less common and sometimes occur in conjunction with Von Hippel Lindau disease (a disease in which patients are prone to developing cysts in the kidney and other organs). Intramedullary tumors occur most often in the cervical spinal cord and are often benign.
- Abnormal sensations or loss of sensation
- Back Pain
- Fecal incontinence
- Muscle contractions, twitches, or spasms (fasciculations)
- Muscle function loss
- Muscle weakness
- Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) examination
- Cytology (cell studies) of CSF
- Spinal CT
- Spine MRI
- Spine x-ray
The aim of the surgery is to remove the tumour without weakening the spine. Sometimes it’s possible to remove spinal cord tumours completely, especially if the tumour is on the outer part of the spinal cord. If the tumour cannot be removed completely, it’s often possible to remove part of it. This can help slow down the progress of the tumour.
A type of surgery called decompressive laminectomy is sometimes done to relieve pressure within the spinal canal. The spinal canal is the opening in the vertebrae which the spinal cord runs through. Parts of several vertebrae and some of the tumour are removed. As well as relieving pressure.
Steroids are used to bring down any swelling around the tumour. This will relieve symptoms and help to stop damage to the spinal cord from becoming permanent
Radiation therapy (also called radiotherapy) is the use of high-energy rays to kills tumor cells, thereby stopping them from growing and multiplying.
Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to destroy cancer cells, usually by stopping the cancer cells’ ability to grow and divide. The goal of chemotherapy can be to destroy cancer cells remaining after surgery, slow a tumor’s growth, or reduce symptoms.
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