Acıbadem Ankara Hospital Spine and Spinal Cord Center

Spinal Tumors and Infections Surgery

There are three kinds of surgery based on the cause:

Removal of the infection or tumor from the body.

For some benign or metastasized tumors or infections (most of microbial infections) the purpose is to remove the disease or diseased tissue as much as possible. This removal process is called 'partial resection' for tumors, and 'debridement' for infections. Even if a small fraction is left behind, the disease factor may be present. Considering this, and the fact that the condition will not advance (benign tumor) or can be controlled through additional treatments (antibiotics for infections, chemotherapy or radiotherapy for metastasis), an extensive surgical procedure is avoided.

As only a fraction that is left behind may cause the reoccurrance of the disease and the patient to lose his/her life, in some tumors like spinal sarcomas (osteosarcoma, Ewing, Chordoma, etc.) and some infections (fungal, parasitic), the lesion is removed by including healthy tissue at its periphery. This is called 'large excision'. Naturally, in both cases the integrity of the spine is compromised and stabilization must be applied.

Treating complete or partial paralysis due to infection or tumors.

Although paralyses due to infections or tumors are generally similar to those developing after fractures, the main difference is that they respond to treatment better since they are low energy and slow progressing. When such a condition is identified, it is known that emergency decompression (within the first 24 hours for total paralysis)  affects the outcomes positively The exception to this situation is the 'sarcomas'. If it is suspected that a patient has sarcoma, the patient needs to be decompressed immediately.  In that case , a complex excision surgery is administered after the condition is precisely determined. Thus, the patient's chance of survival increases but the probability of healing the paralysis decreases.

Removing the instability occurring following this surgery or due to the tumor or infection itself.

Stabilization surgery is generally similar to the stabilization surgery practiced for fractures. The main difference is, as the number of removed vertebrae increases in tumor surgery, the required material to replace this tissue also increases. This requirement is fulfilled using specially produced prosthetics made from metal or synthetic materials. Again, screws and rods are used for stabilization.

Healing process

The healing process is very variable for tumors and infections. In a patient who underwent debridement and stabilization, the processes above apply However following large excision surgeries, the decision is made on a case by case basis depending on the patient's condition. The requirement for additional treatment (antibiotics, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, etc.) is evaluated at this stage.

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