What are Intradural Spinal Tumors?

Intradural spinal tumors are found within the dura of the spine. The dura is a thick membrane, or sac like structure, that surrounds the spinal cord. There are two types of intradural spinal tumors:

  1. The intradural intramedullary tumors are found inside the dura within the spinal cord. Commonly, these tumors are lower grade and benign.
  2. The intradural extramedullary tumors are located inside the dura sac but outside the spinal cord. Two types of intradural extramedullary tumors are common. Meningiomas, which attach to the dura and nerve sheath tumors affect cells insulated nerve fibers outside the spinal cord. Nerve sheath tumors are frequently either Schwannomas or neurofibromas and are frequently benign but can cause problems if they are large enough to create pressure on the spinal structures.

As a neurosurgeon, Dr. Braxton offers both conservative and surgical treatments to patients with intradural spinal tumors.

What are Extradural Tumors?

Extradural spinal tumors are found inside of the spine but not within the dura sac. Most extradural tumors are cancers that have metastasized to the spine. These tumors can impact neurological function and cause pain. Primary tumors that appear on the extradural bony spine are less common and are more often benign, but can cause degenerative or invasive damage to the spine.

What Causes Spinal Tumors?

Spinal tumors are classified as either:

  • Primary, growing in the original location

  • Secondary, growing in a further location

In the case of primary spinal tumor, it is not known what causes the abnormal cell growth resulting in a tumor. For secondary tumors, it is the presence of a metastasized primary tumor that is responsible for generating abnormal cell growth. Dr. Braxton can provide a thorough evaluation to determine the type of spinal tumor.

How do you know you have an Intradural or Extradural Tumor?

Dr. Braxton will collect a patient history and physical exam with an emphasis on neurological symptoms and back pain. In order to determine if the tumor is intradural or extradural imaging tests are required. This may include X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs and the imaging will assist Dr. Braxton’s diagnosis as to the type of tumor. Intradural tumors will be located inside the dura sac of the spinal structure. Extradural tumors will be found inside the spine but not inside the dura sac itself.

Are you experiencing spinal pain? Contact Dr. Braxton today.

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How to Treat Spinal Tumors?

Dr. Braxton offers non-surgical and surgical treatments for intradural and extradural tumors. In the early stages of the condition, pain relief and physical therapy may be recommended to ameliorate pain. Dr. Braxton will work closely with the patient to determine if surgery is recommended. The goal of the surgery is to minimize the impact of the tumor on the spinal structure, to reduce pain, and to restore the patient to preferred activities as quickly as possible.

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