A spinal tumor is a growth that develops within the bones of the spine or near the spinal cord. The tumor, whether cancerous (malignant) or noncancerous (benign), can impinge on the surrounding spinal nerves, leading to pain, neurological problems and sometimes paralysis and permanent disability.
Why Choose Us?
- For nearly a decade, our team of specially trained physicians has performed hundreds of minimally invasive spine surgeries
- Sharp Memorial Hospital is one of the few hospitals in San Diego that performs minimally invasive spine surgery
- We are committed to providing a patient-centered experience by treating each patient with personal, expert care and developing a treatment plan specially designed for each patient
- We use the latest, state-of-the-art surgical technology, including Nuvasive®, which usually results in shorter operative time and hospital stay, less pain and scarring and faster recovery for patients
Treatment for Spinal Tumors
The main goal in treating a spinal tumor is to eliminate the tumor completely and — if that is impossible due to the risk of permanent nerve damage — to reduce or prevent nerve damage from pressure on the spinal cord. Treatment options include:
- Chemotherapy — There are no proven benefits of chemotherapy for most spinal tumors; however, your doctor can determine whether it’s beneficial.
- Monitoring — At times, spinal tumors are discovered before symptoms appear and when a patient is being evaluated for another condition. If the tumor is small, noncancerous and isn’t pressing on surrounding tissues, careful monitoring may be the only treatment needed. This often applies to older adults who aren’t candidates for surgery or radiation therapy.
- Other Drugs — Corticosteroids (dexamethasone) may be given to reduce inflammation and swelling.
- Radiation Therapy — If the tumor is inoperable or cannot be completely removed during surgery, radiation therapy can be used. This type of treatment also works as therapy for metastatic tumors, pain relief or when surgery poses too great a risk to the patient.
- Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) — With this type of treatment, doctors use computers to focus beams of high-dose radiation on tumors from various angles. While proven effective on brain tumors, research is still being done to determine its efficacy on spinal tumors.
- Surgery — By partially or completely removing the tumor, pressure on the spinal cord is immediately relieved. Advances in techniques minimize nerve damage and new instruments allow surgeons to reach tumors that were once considered inaccessible.
Find a San Diego Orthopedic Surgeon
To learn more about orthopedics at Sharp or to find a Sharp-affiliated doctor, search for San Diego orthopedic surgeons or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, from 8 am to 6 pm.
For More Orthopedics Information
To find general information about orthopedics, visit Orthopedic Surgery in Adult Health or read the Orthopedics News archive.