The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Spinal tumor

Spinal tumors are located in the spinal cord and are mostly metastases from primary cancers elsewhere (commonly breast, prostate and lung cancer). Primary tumors may be benign (e.g. hemangioma) or malignant in nature.

Depending on their location, the spinal cord tumors can be:

  • Extradural - outside the dura mater lining
  • Intradural - part of the dura
  • Intramedullary - inside the spinal cord

The symptoms seen are due to spinal nerve compression and weakening of the vertebral structure. Incontinence and decreased sensitivity in the saddle aera (buttocks) are generally considered warning signs of spinal cord compression by the tumor. Back pain in a patient with known malignancy may prompt a bone scan to confirm or exclude spinal metastasis.


MRI is used for diagnostic purposes, often in conjunction with a bone scan.


  • Surgery
Last updated: 05-21-2005 01:03:06