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Barnes-Jewish & Washington University
Spine Center

Spinal Tumors

With hundreds of spine tumor procedures performed per year, orthopedic surgeons and neurosurgeons at Barnes-Jewish & Washington University Center for Spinal Tumors have an internationally renowned reputation for providing the best care and developing the most promising new techniques. From smaller incisions and less recovery time to advanced imaging techniques that help pinpoint critical areas of the spinal cord, our tumor patients benefit from our advanced expertise.

Understanding Spinal Tumors

Spinal tumors include tumors of the vertebrae and surrounding tissues as well as tumors of the spinal cord and its coverings. Both spinal tumors and tumors of the vertebrae are rarer than brain tumors. The occurrence of tumors on the vertebrae is somewhat higher than in the spine. All spinal tumors can be primary or metastatic, benign or malignant. Metastatic tumors of the vertebrae are common in cases of breast, lung and prostate cancer.

Whether malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous), tumors of the spine and spinal cord present a serious impact to quality of life and daily functioning.

Spinal tumors, which grow within the bones of the spine (vertebrae) can impinge on the spinal cord and nerve roots, causing pain, neurological problems and disability.

Tumors also can arise within the spinal cord itself, or within the membranes surrounding the spinal cord (intradural). Tumors arising outside of this membrane (extradural) also can compress the spinal cord due to the narrow space available. Tumors of the spinal cord often cause pain localized to the area of the tumor, sometimes followed by weakness, numbness and fatigue.

Because spinal tumors are relatively uncommon, the Center for Spinal Tumors regularly receives referrals of these cases from physicians throughout the greater Missouri region. Our clinicians are among the most experienced in treating these types of tumors, including:  

  • Benign Spinal Tumors
    • Aneurysmal bone cysts (ABCs) 
    • Eosinophilic granuloma 
    • Giant cell tumor 
    • Hemangioma 
    • Osteoblastoma 
    • Osteochondroma 
    • Osteoid osteoma
    • Schwannoma
  • Malignant Spinal Tumors
    • Chondrosarcoma 
    • Chordoma 
    • Ewing's Sarcoma 
    • Lymphoma 
    • Metastatic spread of tumors (lung, breast, prostate, etc.) to the spine
    • Osteosarcoma 
    • Plasmacytoma/multiple myeloma 
    • Spinal astrocytoma 
    • Spinal meningioma

Whether benign or malignant, spinal tumors frequently must be removed to prevent spreading and irreversible damage to the spinal cord. Center for Spinal Tumor neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons specialize in removal of spine and spinal cord tumors. When malignant tumors are involved, our surgeons work collaboratively with oncology to ensure the best possible outcome for each patient.

Physician Specialists - Tumors of the Spine and Spinal Cord

For a referral to a Washington University neurosurgeon or orthopedic spine surgeon at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, call .

Jacob Buchowski, MD

Dr. Buchowski is a Washington University orthopedic surgeon at Barnes-Jewish who focuses his practice on spinal tumors and complex reconstructive spine surgery of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine.

 

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