Tumours affecting the spinal cord and spinal nerves are rare, but not uncommon tumours. They can affect patient of any age and usually present with difficulty in using the arms or legs and numbness, "electric-shock" like sensations affecting the extremities, bladder or bowel symptoms. Once an MRI scan of the spine has picked up a growth, the next questions are:
The answers to all these questions come after surgery. Modern neurosurgery is performed using an operating microscope in such a way that the normal spinal cord is undisturbed as much as possible so that the patient is not left worse-off than before the operation. Further, by taking off the tumour as much as possible, the tissue is available for analysis. Depending on the type of the tumour, its aggressiveness etc, we may need to offer further treatments like radiation/chemotherapy. Most patients will need intensive physiotherapy in the post-operative phase in order to regain the limb power that has been lost.