Tumors of the spinal cord: symptoms, classification, diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation, prognosis

Almost 15% of all CNS formations are tumors of the spinal cord. They are in the same number found in representatives of both sexes, are more often detected at the age of 20 to 60 years.

Education is benign and malignant. Sometimes, in the early stages, they go unnoticed, because they "masquerade" for other ailments.

Tumors of the spinal cord are divided into primary and secondary. The latter arise in the spine and quickly begin to give metastases to the thoracic and peritoneal region.

All species are localized at different levels, but the thoracic section is the most susceptible to their appearance. The least they are found in the lower, that is, the lumbar spine.

Classification of

Tumors of the spinal cord are subdivided by location of origin, histological features.


  • intramedullary,
  • extramedullary( subdural, epidural, mixed).

By origin:

  • primary( neurinoma, meningioma. ..),
  • secondary( chordoma, hemangioma. ..).

Types of spinal cord

tumors in the picture

Classification of tumors of the spinal cord

Based on histological features:

  • of the nerve tissue,
  • of the medulla,
  • connective tissue,
  • adipose tissue.

Intramedullary type

This species arises from the substance of the spinal cord. He is one of the rare.

This species is divided into an extra-cerebral, outgoing from the mild cerebral casing emanating from the brain tissue. In the intradural region, there are formations of blastomatous or inflammatory origin. The latter include various cysts formed after meningitis, tuberculoma.


This type of tumor of the spinal cord appears in the anatomical formations: roots, membrane, vessels. With it, there is a gradual loss of sensitivity in the lower limbs.

Most of the formations are primarily malignant cells, metastases.

The tumor first squeezes the subarachnoid space, blood vessels. Only then does the spinal cord turn on. Violation of blood circulation extends to all lower divisions.

Because of a pathological process, a large amount of protein and erythrocytes enter the cerebrospinal fluid.

Benign and malignant species

Benign and malignant tumors of the spinal cord Benign and malignant spinal tumors threaten life, so treatment is mandatory.

The first species can strike nerves, so it leads to severe pain, neurological disorders.

Despite its slow growth in the denial of medical intervention, paralysis may occur. Such formation can be transformed into malignant.

Cancer in 2/3 of the cases gives metastases to the spinal cord of the lymph, lungs and mammary glands.

For this species is characterized by a violation of sensitivity, motor functions. Pelvic organs also cease to perform their functions properly. In contrast to benign, this type is characterized by rapid growth and progression.

At the initial stages of cancer, a temporary cessation of the work of nerve cells occurs, but their integrity is not violated. The more time passes, the faster the reversible processes change to irreversible. All fibers in the lesion are degenerated.

Spinal neoplasms in children

Primary spinal cord tumors in children are rare, but have many difficulties in treatment. The most frequent are

  • Ewing's sarcoma,
  • bone aneurysmal cyst,
  • chordoma,
  • osteoid-osteoma,
  • fibrous dysplasia.

In children, the spine continues to grow, so the doctor appoints a special treatment and appoints procedures aimed at preserving the functions of the neurological nature and post-operative stability of the column.

The causes of the appearance of lesions in the spinal cord in children have not been established to this day. It was revealed that they are more often found in those who were exposed to radiation. Sometimes in infants such a disease is genetically determined.

Symptoms of a spinal cord tumor

The first sign is pain at the site of the lesion. Usually it appears with sudden movements.

The more education becomes, the more such feelings become more pronounced. Sometimes at first there is a violation of sensitivity, the appearance of weakness, rapid fatigue when walking.

With the extracerebral formations there is radicular-shell syndrome. At this time, the pain intensifies in a horizontal position.

Significantly it decreases with the vertical position. With neurinomas discomfort occurs when pressure on the jugular veins. This leads to an increase in intracranial pressure.

Intracerebral tumors are devoid of staging, but in the first stages there are signs of damage to individual segments of the spinal cord. This leads to muscle twitching, sensitivity disturbance.

Signs of education, depending on the location of the

Clinical signs of a tumor in the spinal cord If the cervical region is affected, the pain gives to the nape, neck movements become very painful. Over time, there is a violation of breathing.

With spinal cord cancer in the thoracic region, pain occurs between the ribs. There is a violation of cardiac activity.

If the tumor is formed in the lower sternal segments, the symptomatology begins to resemble pancreatitis, appendicitis.

When the level of lumbar thickening is affected, paraparesis develops, muscle atrophy develops. A decrease in knee reflexes is noted, while Achilles increase.

Education in the cauda equina region is manifested by severe pain in the sacrum, legs. They become especially unbearable at night.


A test for a spinal cord tumor is performed in a hospital. First, neurological examination and electromyography are prescribed. The latter allows estimating the bioelectric activity of muscles.

Informative methods are:

  • MRI and CT, conducted with intravenous contrast. They can accurately determine the place where the education appeared.
  • Radionuclide diagnostics. In this case, radiopharmaceuticals are introduced. They are differently heated in formations and healthy tissues.
  • Spinal puncture and taking of liquor. They allow us to identify conduction abnormalities, to reveal the place of the tumor. The higher the protein level, the lower the formation.

Photo MRI picture of ring-shaped spinal cord tumor

MRI picture of the ring-shaped tumor of the spinal cord

Many patients are prescribed spondylography, which allows to differentiate the ailment from other causes of compression of the spinal cord. This is an x-ray study that allows you to obtain information about the condition of the vertebrae, intervertebral discs.

Treatment of spinal cord tumors

Absolute indications for surgery are any tumors of the spinal cord that exert a compression effect.

Also, the operation is indicated for a sharp pain syndrome. With early diagnosis, as well as with a benign character, complete recovery is possible.

Treatment is not justified for multiple metastases. If the formation is large or is inaccessible, then it is excised as much as possible. If cancer is detected, surgical treatment is accompanied by radiation and chemotherapy.


After removal of the tumor of the spinal cord, medications are prescribed, which restore the blood supply in the spinal cord.

Necessarily appointed LFK, which depends on the location, massage of the extremities.

While the patient is in a reclining position, it is mandatory to conduct hygienic procedures and use special mattresses to avoid the occurrence of bedsores.

After discharge from the hospital, it is important to continue treatment activities. Many learn to walk anew using special walkers. All patients need to carry out activities that are developed on the basis of an individual program.

Good results can be achieved with moderate severity of pelvic and motor disorders.


It depends on the degree of neurological disorders at the time of seeking medical help.

With intramedullary formations, the prognosis is worse, since usually the operation only allows to improve the condition. With inoperable formations, the patient is given an unlimited 1 group of disability.

This video describes the clinic and diagnosis of spinal cord tumors:

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