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Spinal Tumors Services at UPMC in Central Pa.

The neurosurgeons at UPMC Neurosurgery in Central Pa. perform advanced procedures to treat spinal tumors.

Why Choose UPMC Neurosurgery in Central Pa. for Treatment of Spinal Tumors?

Our experts use leading-edge technology and techniques to treat spinal tumors, including:

  • State-of-the-art navigation system and microscope. Using an advanced navigation system and microscope, our surgeons can perform spinal surgery with pinpoint accuracy. These tools provide a detailed, real-time view of the surgical area and help our surgeons identify specific parts of the spine during surgery.
  • Three-dimensional (3D) C-arm for intraoperative imaging. A 3D C-arm is a medical imaging device that uses x-ray technology to provide your surgeon with 3D images during surgery. This advanced imaging system helps to increase surgical precision, safety, and accuracy.
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery. which is a noninvasive procedure that delivers precise doses of radiation directly to your spine without damaging the surrounding, healthy tissue.

What are Spinal Tumors?

Spinal tumors are abnormal growths that develop in your spinal canal or on your spinal cord, spinal nerve roots, or the bones in your spine, called vertebrae. Spinal tumors can be cancerous or noncancerous.

Types of Spinal Tumors

Our specialists diagnose and treat all types of spinal tumors, including:

  • Hemangioblastoma. A hemangioblastoma is a rare, noncancerous vascular tumor that occurs along your spine.
  • Meningioma. A meningioma is a tumor that develops in the meninges, or the membranes that enclose and protect your brain and spinal cord. Some meningiomas can be cancerous, but most are not cancerous.
  • Metastatic spinal tumor. Metastatic tumors, sometimes called secondary tumors, are tumors that spread to your spine from cancer that has started somewhere else in your body.
  • Neurofibroma. A neurofibroma is a tumor that begins on the insulating layer, or nerve sheath, that surrounds your nerve roots, which branch out from your spinal cord. Neurofibromas usually are not cancerous and completely surround the nerve root.
  • Schwannoma. A schwannoma is a tumor that begins on the insulating layer, or nerve sheath, that surrounds your nerve roots, which branch out from your spinal cord. Schwannomas usually are not cancerous and are slow-growing. Unlike neurofibromas, schwannomas displace the nerve root but do not surround it.

What are the Symptoms of Spinal Tumors?

Spinal tumors can compress the spinal cord or spinal nerves, which can cause serious complications. Symptoms of spinal tumors vary depending on the type and location of the tumor. Common symptoms may include:

  • Pain at the site of the tumor
  • Back pain that radiates to other body parts or gets worse at night
  • Decreased sensitivity to pain, heat, or cold in your legs, feet, arms, or hands
  • Bowel or bladder problems
  • Trouble walking
  • Tingling, numbness, or muscle weakness in your legs, feet, arms, or hands

Who is at risk for spinal tumors?

The cause of most spinal tumors is not clear. However, certain hereditary disorders, including neurofibromatosis type 2 and Von Hippel-Lindau disease, may increase your risk of developing spinal tumors.

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