Spine tumours is a term that encompasses a very broad range of conditions form incidental benign lumps on a nerve root that merely need surveillance with scans, through to metastatic spine cancers that may be compressing the spinal cord. The important point is that your Brain & Spine Clinic neurosurgeon will talk you through your MRI scan findings and discuss with you a bespoke treatment plan appropriate to your individual case.
What type of tumours can occur in the spine?
In broad terms, spine tumours are divided into those arising from the bone of the spinal column (vertebral or extradural tumours) and those that are inside the lining of the spinal cord / nerve roots called the dura (intradural tumours).
Extradural tumours are most commonly bone metastases from a primary cancer elsewhere in the body, but may also arise from blood cells (lymphoma or myeloma). Rarely, these tumours may be primary bone tumours.
Intradural tumours are less common and can be further subdivided into intra-dural extramedullary (IDEM) tumours (outside the spinal cord) and intramedullary tumours (within the spinal cord). IDEM tumours are usually benign and most are nerve sheath tumours or meningiomas. Intramedullary tumours are rarer still and are usually astrocytomas, ependymomas or cavernous haemangiomas.
Your neurosurgeon can navigate you through the complexity of diagnosis for these conditions.