Facebook Pixel

Spine Tumors

ortho spine Disc

Spine tumors are abnormal growths located either within or surrounding the spinal cord or column. These masses, which often grow very quickly, can be either benign (not cancerous) or cancerous.

In the case of cancerous masses, the spine can be the primary site of the cancer, or the tumor may have spread or metastasized from another region. 

WakeMed’s orthopaedists work in collaboration with other specialists to develop an individualized treatment plan for patients with spine tumors.

Symptoms of Spine Tumors

  • Pain in the middle to lower back that doesn’t improve with medication or therapy, and that typically gets worse at night
  • Numbness or weakness in the limbs and chest
  • Loss of balance or ability to walk
  • Lack of sensitivity to heat or cold
  • Bowel and bladder dysfunction
  • Paralysis

Types and Causes of Spine Tumors

Doctors aren’t sure why most tumors develop, although certain genetic conditions may play a role.

Spine tumors are usually metastatic (spread from its origin) or primary. Metastatic are more common, usually arising from breast, lung and prostate cancers.

Primary tumors are less common, and they include osteoblastomas, giant cell tumors, chordomas, aneurismal bone cysts and osteosarcomas.

Diagnosing Spine Tumors

Our doctors take a detailed history of symptoms and conduct a thorough physical examination.

To confirm a spine tumor, we may order the following imaging tests:

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan
  • Myelogram
  • Bone scan
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scan

These tests help us visualize the nerves and spinal cord. If a tumor is found, we will then take a biopsy, or small tissue sample, to learn the exact type of spine tumor, which is important for determining the best treatment plan.  

Treating Spine Tumors

Depending on the type of spine tumor, its location and symptoms, some spine tumors can be treated effectively with chemotherapy and radiation. In other cases, surgery can remove the tumor and provide relief from pain and weakness.

Primary spine tumors can sometimes be successfully treated through a complete removal of the tumor.

When the tumor is more advanced, has not responded to non-surgical treatments or has metastasized from other locations, surgery can help relieve compression on the nerves, stabilize the region and restore neurological function.

Make an Appointment

We welcome new patients. If you’d like to meet with one of WakeMed’s orthopaedists about a spine tumor, please make an appointment by calling us at 919-232-5020.