What Are Spinal Cord Tumors: Symptoms And Causes
Updated: Feb 11
When there is an abnormal growth of mass or tissue within or surrounding the spinal cord, or the spinal column, or within the bones of your spine, it is known as a spinal cord tumor. These are chiefly categorized into four main types, depending upon where they occur, in relation to the protective membranes of the spinal cord and their exact location in the spine. These are: 1. Intradural-extramedullary Tumors: These are mainly located inside of the thin covering of the spinal cord, but outside of the actual spinal cord. These are mostly non-cancerous but could be difficult to remove and may recur. They mostly occur at the spinal cord base, the nerve roots that extend out of the spinal cord, or the spinal cord’s arachnoid membrane.
2. Intramedullary Tumors: These usually grow inside the spinal cord, and these too are often benign but could be difficult to remove. They mostly occur in the thoracic region followed by the cervical, and the bottom region of the spinal cord followed by the cervical.
3. Extradural Tumors: Mainly located in the thin covering surrounding the spinal cord, these types of tumors may affect spinal cord function by causing spinal cord compression and other problems.
4. Vertebral tumours: These are the tumors that arise in the bones of the spine. These tumors mostly spread from cancers in other parts of the body like breast cancer, prostate cancer, etc. Primary bone tumors of the spine also do exist but are rare. What Are The Causes?
There are certain causes that can create a tumor and give rise to the need for spine surgery. These are:
• History of breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, or multiple myeloma.
• Leftover cell-developing cells from embryo.
• Cell mutations in ependymal cells (these line passageways where cerebrospinal fluid travels from spine to brain).
• Inherited medical conditions: Von Hippel-Lindau disease and Neurofibromatosis.
• Cell mutations in astrocyte cells (these support nerve cells).
• Cell mutation in glial cells (These cells support nerve cells).
• Cell mutation in arachnoid mater (It is a membrane that lines up the spinal cord).
• Prolonged exposure to toxic chemicals in industrial settings.
• Cell mutation in nerve cells in the cervical region.
• Compromised immune systems leading to the development of lymphomas in the spinal cord. The causes and risk factors are different for all individuals. It is always advisable to get tested if there is a history of such tumors in one's family, especially first-degree relatives (Genetic causes should be neglected). It is also very important for patients with a history of the above-mentioned cancers to be very vigilant about vertebral tumors and go for regular checkups. Are There Any Symptoms? The symptoms of a spinal cord tumor are not very specific, but there are certain indications that one must be aware of. These are of two types: Symptoms specific to spinal tumours: • Numbness, tingling in specific regions of body
• Pain in any specific region of the back or during specific times in the day.
• Constricting band like pain around the chest or abdomen.
• Loss of sensations in specific regions of the body or in any part of the lower body
• Loss of balance
• Pain like sharp needles pinching
• Inability to move
• Loss of power or weakness in arms or legs.
• Erectile dysfunction.
• Loss of control of urination.
• Loss of control over defecation (passing stools).
Symptoms related to cancer as such and symptoms due to indirect pressure on the brain:
• Loss of appetite
• Un-intended, sudden weight loss.
• Nauseous feelings, followed by vomiting.
• Excessive fever, sudden chills or shakes.
• Loss of balance Untimely memory loss.
• Speech and visual difficulties.
Unfortunately sometimes patients do not have any symptoms until a very advanced stage of the disease. However If any of the above symptoms exist and continue becoming more severe, one must consult their doctor at the earliest. Where To Obtain Treatment? Treatment for spinal tumours has become very advanced and is completely safe. Precision surgery with high powered microscopes precision is ensured. Intraoperative nerve monitoring ensures there is no nerve damage during surgery. Dr. Raveesh Sunkara is the best neurosurgeon and Spine tumour surgeon in Hyderabad who is well versed with above mentioned advanced techniques and more in spine tumour surgery , he prioritizes the well-being of all his patients and takes a lot of care in addressing all their concerns. He has successfully performed several spine tumour surgeries. Contact us for a personalised treatment plan and schedule a surgery for such a spine tumour. A Feel free to contact us even for a second opinion .