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The indications for neurosurgical intervention of spinal tumours are:
1. To obtain a tissue diagnosis of the tumour
2. To debulk the tumour allowing adjuvant treatment (eg radiotherapy) to have a greater effect
3. To decompress the spinal cord and nerve roots from invading tumour
4. To stabilize and fuse potentially unstable spinal segments
The approaches to the spinal tumour is dependent on the position of the tumour and includes:
If the surgery is performed from the front a cage or bony strut graft (taken from the hip) may be used to replace the vertebral body. Pedicle screws and rods may be used for spinal fusion if surgery is performed from behind.
Spinal tumours are frequently responsive to localized radiotherapy. Radiotherapy is also good in relieving bony pain. Many cases of spinal tumour will have radiotherapy as a first line treatment if there is a known radiotherapy responsive primary tumour. Those cases that require surgery as a first line treatment will usually be followed with radiotherapy
Depending on the pathology of the spinal tumour, chemotherapy may be used in either oral or intravenous form after surgery.
The risks of this operation includes the following. A detailed discussion with your surgeon is recommended prior to surgery.
For more information on St Vincent's Neuroscience services and additional resources visit our dedicated Neuroscience site here.