Abnormal Mass of Cells

A spinal tumor is an abnormal mass of cells that grows within the bones of your spine or inside your spinal cord. There are several types of spinal tumors, including:

  • Primary bone tumors that originate from your spine
  • Metastatic tumors that started in another area of your body and spread to your spine
  • Epidural spinal tumors that form inside your vertebrae but don’t usually affect your spinal cord
  • Intradural extramedullary tumors located outside your spinal cord but within the dural sheath that surrounds your spinal nerves
  • Intradural intramedullary tumors that grow inside your spinal cord

The cause of most spinal tumors is not always possible to pinpoint. Genetics, your environment and personal health history may play a role

Symptoms, Diagnosis and Outlook

The symptoms of a spinal tumor vary according to the location, type, cause and severity of your condition. Symptoms may include:

  • Back pain that worsens over time
  • Trouble walking or keeping your balance
  • Tingling or numbness in arms or legs
  • Inability to stand up straight or other changes in posture
  • Dropping objects
  • Loss of bladder or bowel function
  • Needing support or assistance to move

Diagnostic testing for spinal tumors typically begins with a physical and neurological exam and review of your medical history. Testing may include:

  • X-rays
  • CT scans
  • MRI scans
  • Tumor biopsy

The likelihood of successful treatment for a spinal tumor varies according to the specifics of your condition. Early diagnosis and treatment usually lead to the best possible outcome.

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Why Choose Penn State Health for Care

Advanced Expertise, Expert Care

The team of experts at Penn State Health provides the most advanced care available in the region. We specialize in advanced minimally invasive surgical techniques, including robotic-assisted surgery.

Our fellowship-trained team is consistently recognized nationally through Best Doctors in America and America’s Top Doctors awards. Our specialists also participate in worldwide conferences and speaking engagements in countries including India, Korea, Germany, Japan and others.

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