Acıbadem Ankara Hospital Spine and Spinal Cord Center

Spinal Cord Tumor

Early diagnosis significantly reduces the paralysis risk of the patients. The surgical treatment outcomes for these benign and slow-growing tumors are generally very successful.

About 20% of central nervous system tumors are located inside the spinal canal. Spinal cord tumors are classified as extradural (outside the spinal cord sheath), intradural-extramedullar (inside the spinal cord sheath but outside the spinal cord) and intramedullar (inside the spinal cord sheath and the spinal cord) according to their location. 66% intradural tumors are extramedullar, 33% are intramedullar.

90% of untradural extramedullar tumors are Shwannoma - neurofibromas and menengiomas, and the remaining 10% are ependymomas, dermoids, epidermoids, angiomas, lipomas, metastases, arachnoid cysts, chordomas, melanomas, mixomas and sarcomas. The greatest part of intramedullar tumors are epandimomas and astrocytomas.


It first appears as pain and numbness in arms and legs. An advancing weakness, loss of feeling, urogenital and anorectal dysfunction are the most important symptoms and findings. These symptoms and findings progress very slowly. However, depending on the tumor's structure, rapid worsening can also be seen.

Some Tumor Types

Schwannoma/Neurofibroma: These stem from the nerve sheath. They can be seen anywhere in the nervous system. The primary characteristics of these intradural extramedullar (inside the spinal cord sheath but outside the spinal cord) tumors are that they grow slowly and that they are benign.

Meningiomas: These tumors originate in the spinal cord sheath, are mostly seen in the back area and in women. They are usually benign and slow growing.

Filum Ependymoma: These tumors grow from the lower end of the spinal cord, and are considered extramedullar clinically and surgically.

Astrocytomas: These tumors located inside the spinal cord are usually seen in childhood. Although most of them are benign, they are strongly tied to the spinal cord.

Ependymomas: These intramedullar tumors frequently seen in adults, are generally well limited and non-infiltrative.

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