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Spinal Tumors

The spine runs down the back and includes the spinal cord, which is protected by a fibrous material called the dura. Spinal tumors can arise in any area of the spine and are grouped based on location. The three groups of spinal tumors are: extradural (outside of the dura), intradural-extramedullary (between the spinal cord and the dura) and intramedullary (within the substance of the spinal cord itself).

Extradural lesions are the most common, representing 60% of all spinal tumors. The most common extradural tumors are metastatic, meaning they reached the spine after starting somewhere else in the body.

Intradural-extramedullary tumors make up about 30% of cases. The main types are meningiomas and schwannomas. Meningiomas arise from the dura and are more common in women. Schwannomas arise from the lining of nerve roots.

Intramedullary tumors are uncommon. The most common intramedullary tumors are:

  • Astrocytoma: tumors from the support cells in the spinal cord
  • Ependymoma: tumors from the cells that line the central spinal cord
  • Hemangioblastoma: vascular tumors within the spinal cord

Symptoms of Spinal Tumors:

Spinal tumors typically grow slowly. So, symptoms are often prolonged and get worse over time. Though symptoms depend on the location and type of tumor, the most common are:

  • Back pain that tends to get worse at night
  • Weakness
  • Numbness
  • Difficulty walking
  • Bowel or bladder dysfunction

A full physical examination and an MRI are needed for proper diagnosis of a spinal tumor.

Spinal Tumor Treatment:

Surgery is the most common treatment for spinal tumors. In many cases, removal of the tumor is the only treatment needed. However, some spinal tumors may require radiation and/or chemotherapy after surgery.

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We specialize in Spinal Tumor Treatment.

At Nashville Neurosurgery Associates, we are proud to be one of the region’s leading neurosurgical centers. Our team of board-certified surgeons provide expert care and treatment of spinal tumors.

REX ARENDALL, MD

Board-Certified Neurosurgeon

L. BRETT BABAT, MD

Board-Certified Orthopedic Surgeon

ROBBI L. FRANKLIN, MD

Board-Certified Neurosurgeon

KHAN LI, MD

Board-Certified Neurosurgeon

CHINE SP LOGAN, DO, MHA, MS, FACS, FACOS

Board-Certified Neurosurgeon

ROBERT A. MERICLE, MD, FAANS

Board-Certified Neurosurgeon

WILLIAM SCHOOLEY, MD

Board-Certified Neurosurgeon

KARL SILLAY, MD

Board-Certified Neurosurgeon

IVAN T. STOEV, MD

Board-Certified Neurosurgeon

CHRISTOPHER STOREY, MD, PHD

Fellowship Trained Neurosurgeon

ARTHUR J. ULM, MD

Board-Certified Neurosurgeon

Carter Harkins

Carter had severe lumbar back pain and radiating pain down his legs. One day when he couldn’t feel his legs, he went to the hospital where he was diagnosed with severe spinal occlusion. Dr. Mericle performed spinal surgery to repair Carter’s spine. He has since returned to his normal activities!

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