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Spine Diseases and Disorders We Treat

The UPMC Department of Neurological Surgery has some of the most experienced surgeons in the world who are able to treat an array of spinal diseases. Our multidisciplinary neurosurgical experts diagnose and treat the following spinal disorders and conditions.

Degenerative Conditions

Degenerative conditions of the spine occur as part of the normal aging process. Nearly everyone experiences some degeneration of spinal discs or spinal joints by age 40.

Degenerative disc disease — result of spinal discs wearing down.
Disc herniation — when part of the vertebra pushes into the adjoining disc.
Spinal stenosis — narrowing of the spinal canal, commonly in lower back or neck.
Spondylolisthesis — when a vertebra slips out of alignment, pushing on the verterba below.

Spinal Deformities

Spinal deformities, or curvature in the spine, often develop during growth in adolescence. In some cases, back deformities can develop during the adult years as well, from conditions such as osteoporosis.

Adult scoliosis — spine curves abnormally to the side rather than being straight.
Kyphosis — spinal deformity characterized by rounding of the back.

Spinal Tumors and Lesions

Spinal cord tumors, or abnormal growths of tissue found in or near the spinal cord, put pressure on sensitive tissues, causing chronic pain and discomfort and impairment of normal daily functioning.

Meningioma — a tumor that grows in the protective lining of the spinal cord.
Neurofibroma — benign tumor of the peripheral nerves.
Metastatic tumor — cancerous growth that spread from another part of body.
Schwannoma — tumor that arises from the lining of the nerve cells of the spine.
Vascular malformation — abnormal collection of blood vessels.
Hemangioblastoma — a benign vascular tumor located along the spine.
Hemangioma — benign tumor most commonly seen in the mid or lower back.

Traumatic Injuries and Fractures

Traumatic spinal fractures and injuries, if not properly treated, can result in permanent damage or disability.

Spinal cord injury and spinal trauma — such as a fractured spinal column.
Spinal compression fractures — hairline fractures in the spinal bones, often from osteoporosis.

Spinal Canal and Cerebellum Conditions

Our neurosurgeons are experts at treating rare and potentially life-threatening spinal canal and cerebellar disorders and diseases.

Basilar invagination — upper portion of the second vertebra moves upward and presses on the spinal cord and brainstem.
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