Tumors in the spinal cord are cancerous cells that either originate from the spine or develop as a result of metastasis from other parts of the body. These tumors are abnormal masses of cells that are formed on the cord, causing immense pain and pressure on the spine.
Spinal cord tumors cause significant pain as they obstruct the backbone and its intricate structure. Back pain accompanied by numbness of limbs, muscle weakness, contractions and spasms in the muscles and difficulty in bowel control are some of the most common symptoms of spinal cord tumor. Sensory changes and motor problems are the most prominent symptoms of spinal cord tumor.
Spinal cord tumor can affect people of all ages but more common among middle-aged and young adults. Most spinal cord tumors are secondary caused due to metastasis and primary ones are very rare.
Spinal cord tumors can be of 3 types:
Starting from physical examination, diagnosis of spinal cord tumor involves imaging techniques such as CT scan, MRI and PET scans. A myelogram and lumbar puncture are cellular techniques of determining if cancerous cells exist in the spinal cord.
As with any surgery, side effects of spinal cord surgery can range from infection to injury to paralysis.