Spinal tumor surgery requires a significant amount of precision. While tumors that are in close proximity to the spinal cord can often be removed, a surgeon must take special care to not injure the spinal cord or other major nerves in the spine.
There are several different techniques that a surgeon can use when performing spinal tumor surgery. For instance, a surgeon might:
- Remove the entire tumor in a single piece, in a procedure known as an en bloc resection
- Remove the tumor through an incision in the back, an approach that provides enhanced visibility of the nerve roots
- Remove the tumor through a series of small incisions, using a minimally invasive approach to reduce the risk of scarring, infection and other complications
- Reduce the risk of blood loss during surgery by injecting small beads of a glue-like liquid into the blood vessels that feed the tumor, a technique known as embolization
If a surgeon does not believe that a spinal tumor can be successfully removed, he or she might offer a different type of surgical intervention, such as:
- Surgical decompression of the spine (this procedure may be performed prior to radiation therapy to help reduce the risk of spinal cord injury or to help alleviate pressure if a tumor is compressing the components of the spinal canal)
- Reinforce the spine with pedicle screws and rods (this can help redistribute the stress placed on the bones by a large or metastatic spinal tumor)
At Moffitt Cancer Center, our neuro-oncologists perform a high volume of complex spinal tumor surgeries every year. And, because the surgeons in our Neuro-Oncology Program specialize in treating tumors of the spine, brain and skull base, they are highly experienced in operating within these delicate spaces. We offer a number of innovative, risk-reducing procedures that can help each patient improve his or her quality of life after spinal tumor surgery.
Patients are welcome to seek treatment at Moffitt with or without referrals. To learn more about the options we offer for spinal tumor surgery, call 1-888-663-3488 or complete a new patient registration form online.