Spinal tumors depending on their location, can be:
Extradural - The most common.
Intradural extramedullary - inside the dura, but outside the spinal cord.
see Spinal schwannoma.
see Primary spinal tumor.
The treatment paradigms for patients with spinal tumors have evolved with enhanced technology, in part due to the advances made in stereotactic radiosurgery.
Radiosurgery as a supplement to surgical decompression has allowed for less-invasive surgical procedures carrying minimal morbidity while still providing effective local tumor control. Although wide en bloc excision has traditionally been the goal for the treatment of high-grade primary spine tumors, recent studies have shown promise for radiosurgery in providing control in tumors such as chordomas and high-grade sarcomas. Despite advances in radiosurgery, there continues to be limitations in providing effective conformational doses with minimal toxicity to critical structures. One of the ways to circumvent this and supplement external beam radiation is through the use of brachytherapy delivered by radioactive plaque or seeds 1).
Subtotal resection (STR) of spinal tumors can result in tumor recurrence. Currently, no clinically reliable marker is available for intraoperative visualization of spinal tumor tissue. Protoporphyrin IX (PpIX) fluorescence induced by 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA) is capable of visualizing malignant gliomas. Fluorescence-guided resections of malignant cerebral gliomas using 5-ALA have resulted in an increased rate of complete tumor removal. Recently, the application of 5-ALA has also been described in the first cases of spinal tumors.
5-ALA-PpIX fluorescence was observed in spinal tumors, especially ependymomas, meningiomas, hemangiopericytomas, and drop metastases of primary CNS tumors. In cases of intramedullary tumors, 5-ALA-induced PpIX fluorescence is a useful tool for the detection of potential residual tumor foci 2).
In a ACS National Surgical Quality Improvement Program analysis, 10.2% of patients undergoing surgery for spinal tumors were readmitted within 30 days, 5.3% underwent a reoperation, and 14.4% experienced a major complication. The most common complications were SSIs, systemic infections, and VTE, which often occurred late (after discharge from the surgical hospitalization). Patients were primarily readmitted for new complications that developed following discharge rather than exacerbation of complications from the surgical hospital stay. The strongest predictors of adverse events were comorbidities, preoperative steroid use, and higher ASA score. These models can be used by surgeons to risk-stratify patients preoperatively and identify those who may benefit from increased surveillance following hospital discharge 3).