Thursday , February 9 2023
Types of Spinal Tumors

16 Different Types of Spinal Tumors and How to Spot Them

In this article, Dr. Gurneet Shawney, the best spine surgeon in Mumbai, has discussed 16 different types of spinal tumors and how to spot them.   A spinal tumor is a growth in or around your spinal column that is abnormal. If you have any symptoms, the first and most common symptom of a spinal tumor is pain. If the tumor presses on your nerve root, you may experience symptoms such as muscle weakness, tingling, and numbness. Learn about the various types of spinal tumors, their symptoms, diagnostic procedures, and treatment options.

Types of Spinal Tumors:

  • Benign tumors

According to Dr. Gurneet Shawney from Mumbai, the following are examples of benign spinal tumors:

  • Spinal hemangioma. 

Hemangiomas are a type of hemangioma that develops from abnormal blood vessels. Only 0.9 to 1.2 percent of these tumors result in symptoms.

  • Eosinophilic granuloma.

Eosinophilic granuloma is a rare bone tumor that primarily affects kids. This type of tumor can affect any bone, but the skull, jaw, long bones, spine, and ribs are the most common sites.

  • Osteochondroma of the spine

The most common benign bone tumor is osteochondroma. They frequently appear in your cervical spine, just below your skull, when they occur in your spine.

  • Giant cell tumor. 

Noncancerous giant cell tumors are aggressive and can destroy surrounding bone. Each year, they affect about one in a million people.

  • Meningiomas.

 Meningiomas are tumors that develop in the layers of tissue that surround your brain and spinal cord. They usually grow slowly and aren’t cancerous.

  • Nerve sheath tumors

 Nerve sheath tumors are usually harmless and grow slowly. They grow in the layer of protection that wraps around your nerves.

  • Spinal neurofibroma. 

Spinal neurofibroma is a type of cancer that affects the spine. Neurofibromas are benign tumors that grow on your nerves and rarely cause symptoms. They usually develop in the roots of your sensory nerves when they form around your spine.

  • Osteoid osteoma

Osteoid osteoma is a type of osteoma. Osteoid osteoma is a type of bone tumor that usually affects long bones. They are generally less than 1.5 centimeters (0.6 inches) in length and do not grow or spread.

  • Spinal osteoblastoma.

 A rare bone tumor that usually appears in your twenties or thirties. They typically form on the backside of your vertebrae.

  • Aneurysmal bone cyst.

An aneurysmal bone cyst is a type of aneurysm. Aneurysmal bone cysts are blood-filled tumors that are surrounded by a growing bone wall. The most common places where they happen are near your knee, pelvis, or spine.

Malignant tumors

The majority of cancerous spinal tumors spread throughout your body, the rarest type of tumor that affects your spine is a cancerous tumor that begins in your spinal cord. According to Dr. Gurneet Shawney, the leading spine surgeon from Mumbai, the following are examples of malignant spinal tumors:

  • Ewing’s sarcoma. Ewing’s sarcoma is the most common type of spinal tumor in young people, along with osteosarcoma. It develops in the soft tissue surrounding your bone or in the bone itself.
  • Osteosarcoma. Osteosarcoma is one of the most common types of bone cancer, but it only occurs in the spine in a small percentage of cases. It usually appears near the end of a child’s or adolescent’s long bones while still growing.
  • Organ cancer metastases. Metastasized cancer is cancer that has spread from another part of your body. Internal organs spread about 97 percent of tumors in the spinal column. 
  • Chordoma. A chordoma is a rare form of bone cancer that can affect any part of the spine. It affects about 1 in a million people each year and is most commonly found near your tailbone.
  • Multiple myeloma. Multiple myeloma is a type of cancer that affects the blood cells. Multiple myeloma is a cancer of white blood cells that develops in the body. It has the potential to cause tumors in a variety of bones throughout your body.
  • Glioma. A glioma is a tumor that forms in the supportive cells surrounding your nerves and can develop in the brain or spinal cord. Glioma can be classified into the following subcategories based on the cells that are affected:
    • astrocytomas
    • oligodendrogliomas
    • ependymomas

How do you know if you have a spinal tumor?

The majority of spinal tumors are asymptomatic.

Pain is the most common symptom. The pain caused by spinal tumors is frequently misdiagnosed as a spinal injury. This type of pain:

  • gradually gets worse over time
  • be sharp or burning
  • be most noticeable or severe at night
  • eventually, be noticeable at rest

Tumors that compress your nerve roots can lead to symptoms like:

  • tingling
  • muscle weakness
  • numbness
  • decreased temperature sensation, especially within your legs

Less common symptoms include:

  • Loss of bladder or bowel control 
  • sexual incompatibility
  • Having difficulty walking

What are the signs and symptoms of a spinal tumor?

“Diagnosing a spinal tumor is a difficult task. Your doctor may perform a neurological test to assess your movements and senses.

If your doctor suspects a spinal tumor, imaging tests will almost certainly be used to confirm the diagnosis,” says Dr. Gurneet Shawney. 

Other tests that could aid in the detection of a spinal tumor include:

  • blood tests
  • single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT)
  • angiography
  • spinal taps
  • urine tests
  • magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which is the gold standard for diagnosing brain and spinal tumors
  • computed tomography (CT) scans
  • functional MRI (fMRI)
  • magnetencephalography
  • magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS)
  • positron emission tomography (PET)
  • electroencephalogram (EEG)
  • tissue biopsies

What are the treatment options for spinal tumors?

Malignant tumors must be treated. On the other hand, some benign tumors may only require active monitoring to ensure that they do not grow too large or cause pain or other bothersome symptoms.

  • targeted therapy
  • surgery
  • chemotherapy
  • radiation therapy
  • a combination of these treatments

Medication used to ease symptoms include:

  • antidepressants
  • painkillers
  • anticonvulsants
  • steroids and anti-inflammatory drugs
  • anti-nausea drugs

What surgical procedures are used to treat spinal tumors?

Surgical procedures for spinal tumors include:

  • Posterolateral resection. An incision in the middle of your back is used to remove your spinal tumor.
  • En bloc resection. The tumor is completely removed. It’s frequently used to treat tumors in the spine’s bones.
  • Metastatic spine tumor surgery. Cancer that has spread to other parts of your body is commonly treated with two types of surgeries:
  • Decompression of the spinal cord. It relieves pressure on your spinal cord and creates enough space for high-dose radiation to be delivered without putting your spinal cord at risk.
  • Instrumentation of the spine. Screws and rods are attached to your spine to realign your bones.
  • Angiography of the spine. A contrast dye is injected during surgery, and an X-ray is taken to help identify blood vessels at high risk of bleeding.


These are some of the types of spinal Tumors and symptoms. Spinal tumors can be benign or cancerous. Malignant tumors should be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible by a doctor. Although benign tumors aren’t cancerous, they can grow large enough to press against other tissues and cause pain. It’s a good idea to talk to a doctor about your options to see if you can get it removed or treated before your symptoms get worse.

Disclaimer: The statements, opinions, and data contained in these publications are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of Credihealth and the editor(s). 

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