SPINAL TUMORS: SURGERY AND RECOVERY


Some spinal tumors, benign or malignant, require surgical intervention before or after non-operative treatments. When pain is unresponsive to non-operative treatment, neurologic deficit progresses, a specimen is needed, neural elements (e.g. nerves) are compressed, vertebral destruction exists, or when spinal stabilization is necessary – surgery is considered. The primary goals in surgery are to reduce pain caused by the spinal tumor, restore or preserve neurologic function, and provide spinal stability. The spinal tumor may be approached surgically from the front (anterior) or back (posterior) of the body. 

Surgery may include tumor resection (partial removal) or excision (complete removal). When the tumor is removed (partially or completed) pain and neurologic problems may clear up. 

Spinal instrumentation and Fusion are procedures used to reconstruct and stabilize the spine. These procedures join and solidify the level (or levels) where a spinal element (e.g. vertebral body) has been damaged or removed.

Instrumentation uses medical hardware such as rods, bars, wires & screws; these devices hold the spine straight during fusion, which is the adhesive process joining bony spinal elements.

The number of days the patient will spend in the hospital after surgery is partially dependent on the procedure(s) performed. 

Depending on the extent of the surgery and the patient’s medical status, a course of physical therapy may be prescribed. Through exercise and modalities the patient can build strength, endurance, and flexibility.

Spinal Tumors