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Spinal Tumors Specialist

Jeff Pan, MD

Neurosurgery & Spine Specialist located in Edison, NJ

Spinal tumors are abnormal growths found in the spine. Not all spinal tumors are cancerous, but they may affect the health and function of your spine. Jeff Pan, MD, in Edison, New Jersey, is an experienced neurosurgeon who uses advanced tools and techniques to diagnose and treat spinal tumors. To schedule an evaluation, call the office or book online today.

Spinal Tumors Q&A

What are spinal tumors?

Spinal tumors are abnormal growths of tissue in or around your spinal column or canal. These tumors may be benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous). 

Spinal tumors are less common than brain tumors. You may be at greater risk of developing a spinal tumor if they run in your family. Certain genetic conditions, such as neurofibromatosis, may also increase your risk of developing spinal tumors.

What are the types of spinal tumors?

Spinal tumors are either primary tumors (originating from the spine) or metastatic (originating from other parts of the body). Spinal tumors are further grouped in relation to where they form, which includes:

Extradural tumors

Extradural tumors or epidural tumors are spinal tumors that form in your spinal column. These tumors may affect your vertebrae but rarely affect your spinal cord. 

Intradural tumors

Intradural tumors are spinal tumors that form in the membrane that surrounds your spinal cord. These tumors may or may not affect your spinal cord. 

Intramedullary tumors

Intramedullary tumors are spinal tumors in your spinal cord.

Benign tumors grow slowly, while malignant tumors grow quickly. 

What are the symptoms of spinal tumors?

Spinal tumor symptoms vary depending on location and type of tumor. Common symptoms include:

  • Neck or back pain
  • Spinal radiculopathy
  • Leg pain
  • Difficulty walking
  • Numbness, tingling, or burning sensation
  • Bladder problems
  • Paralysis

If the spinal tumor grows large enough, it may alter the spinal alignment and cause spinal deformities. 

How are spinal tumors diagnosed?

Dr. Pan conducts a comprehensive evaluation when you come to his office with complaints of pain to find the root cause. During your exam, he reviews your symptoms, medical and family history, and conducts a physical exam.

To diagnose spinal tumors, Dr. Pan runs various diagnostic tests such as:

  • X-rays, MRIs, or CT scan
  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • Comprehensive metabolic panel
  • Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (SED rate)
  • Serum Protein Electrophoresis (SPE)
  • Acid Phosphatase
  • Urinalysis
  • Myelography
  • Bone scan

If diagnostic imaging finds a tumor, he may then conduct a biopsy of the growth to determine the type. 

How are spinal tumors treated?

Dr. Pan develops personalized treatment plans for spinal tumors based on the location and type of spinal tumor. With benign spinal tumors, he may recommend monitoring your tumor and only taking action if it grows and interferes with your normal spine functions. Treatment may include full or partial surgical removal of the tumor. 

For malignant spinal tumors, treatment may include:

  • Bracing (corset)
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Pain therapy
  • Surgical removal of the tumor

Dr. Pan is an experienced neurosurgeon and uses advanced tools and techniques when performing spinal procedures. When necessary, he can perform surgery to treat benign and malignant spinal tumors. The goal of surgery is to reduce your pain, preserve your neurological function, and maintain your spinal stability. 

Even if you do require surgery, you may still need nonsurgical treatments like radiation therapy or chemotherapy afterward. 

To schedule a spinal tumor evaluation, call the office of Jeff Pan, MD, or book an appointment online today.