As with most other tumor treatments, a multidisciplinary approach involving many medical specialties is employed. Specialists may include a spinal surgeon, pathologist, oncologist, neuro-radiologist, pain management specialist, and angiographer.
Most tumors of the spine are treated with one or more of the following: surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Treatments selected will be dependent on each patient’s individual case, and will consider the type of tumor, involvement of bones, neurologic and/or spinal defects, as well as the patient’s current level of pain and life expectancy.
Steroids may also be used to reduce any swelling of the central nervous system, and bracing may help stabilize the spine and control the pain. Radiation and chemotherapy may help shrink tumors. The use of implants and bone graft may be required to maintain the structural stability of the spine.
Your doctors will also consider risk of infection and wound healing when making surgical decisions. It is vital that the patient’s immune system be strong, so there may need to be a delay following radiation or chemotherapy. Nutritional health is also important for healing, as the patient needs a great deal of strength to recover from surgery. Pulmonary (lung) function will be evaluated to ensure the blood will be sufficiently oxygenated to heal the wound.