Dr. Sean McCance is a spinal tumor specialists (back and neck) orthopedic surgeon in New York. If you have been diagnosed with a spinal tumor please feel free to make a consultation with the surgeon at his NYC medical practice. A spinal tumor can affect nerves in the area of the tumor, leading to pain, neurological problems and sometimes paralysis. Whether cancerous or not, a spinal tumor can threaten your life and cause permanent disability. A spinal tumor is a growth that develops within or near your spinal column or within your vertebrae.

Risk Factors for Spinal Tumors

  • Prior history of cancer
  • Smoking
  • Radiation exposure
  • Certain Genetic Disorders
  • Family History
Symptoms of a Spinal Tumor
  • Back or neck pain that occurs at night and wakens you from sleep
  • Pain that continues to get worse despite treatment
  • Pain at rest
  • Fatigue
  • Weight Loss
  • Neurologic symptoms, such as weakness and numbness
  • Loss of bowel and bladder control

Diagnosis of a Spinal Tumor

  • We will ask about your symptoms and review you medical history
  • We will perform a physical exam of your entire spine
  • A complete neurological exam will be performed
  • The movement, strength, and reflexes of your arms and legs will be tested

Additional tests may include:

  • X-rays to take a picture of the vertebrae or spinal bones to assess their alignment or stability
  • MRI scan, using magnetic waves to make pictures of the intervertebral disks, nerves and spinal cord.This will show any abnormality of the disks, the spinal canal or soft tissues around the spine
  • CAT (CT) scan, which provides a detailed picture of the bone anatomy of your vertebrae, and your spinal canal
  • Myelographydyes are injected in the space around the spinal cord or nerves to more clearly outline the abnormalities, done in conjunction with a CT scan.
  • Bone scan, to determine if there is inflammation, stress fractures or infection
  • Electrodiagnostic testing (EMG) measures the electrical activity of muscle by placing needle electrodes into the muscle, to diagnose nerve problems
  • Blood tests, such as complete blood count (CBC) or sedimentation rate
  • Urine test, to check for urinary infection or blood in the urine

It is important to keep in mind that many of these tests, such as an MRI or CT scan, may not be necessary immediately after back injury.

Spinal Tumor Treatment Options

Possible Spine Tumor Treatments
Course of treatment is determined by:

  • The location of the tumor in the spine
  • Tumor type and whether or not it is a benign or malignant tumor
  • The presence or absence of neurologic injury or compromise
  • The presence or absence of spinal instability arising from the tumor
  • Overall prognosis for the patient

Spinal Tumor Surgery
Surgery can be indicated both for primary tumors of the spine (back and neck) as well as metastatic tumors to the spine. Surgery is performed to remove tumors that are pressing on the spinal cord or nerves, or to stabilize a vertebrae that has been destroyed by a tumor. Surgical stabilization can help relieve pain and allow patients to regain mobility.

Surgical Techniques Include:

  • Vertebrectomy, to remove a vertebra that contains a tumor
  • Fusion, to stabilize the diseased area
  • Reconstruction of the spine with cages, screw and rods
  • Laminectomy or spinal canal decompression, to remove pressure from the spinal cord or nerves

Non-surgical Approaches Can Include:

  • Radiation
    • If the tumor cannot be removed without significant damage to the spinal cord then radiation therapy may be used to slow the tumors growth
    • Some tumors respond very well to radiation and this is the primary treatment
  • Chemotherapy
    • May be recommended for certain types of tumors and after surgical treatment
  • Medication
    • Corticosteroid drugs to reduce spinal cord swelling
    • Narcotics for pain relief
  • Physical Therapy
    • To regain lost muscle control and strength after surgery or radiation
    • To regain strength from neurologic injury

When Should You Call My Office?

Call my office if you have been diagnosed with a spine tumor, or if you suffer from any of the symptoms listed below:

  • The pain is severe or becomes significantly worse
  • It spreads down your legs
  • It is associated with:
    • Numbness, weakness, or tingling in your legs, buttocks or genitals
    • Loss of bowel or bladder control
    • Difficulty with urination
    • Fever, unexplained weight loss, or other signs of illness
  • Has not started to improve within 7 to 10 days
  • Causes difficulty walking, standing, or moving
  • Is worse at night, or worse when you lie down

Our best in class, Upper East Side, NYC back & neck pain diagnosis & surgery practice, Spine Associates, is honored to provide you with highly personalized and comprehensive care. Our philosophy of direct management of your case by an expert spine surgeon has made us one of the most trusted and respected spine surgery practices on the Upper East Side in NYC and the world. Feel free to contact the back & neck pain diagnosis and spine surgery specialist today to discuss your unique spinal tumor condition (back or neck) and start yourself on the road to recovery.

Dr. Sean McCance
1155 Park Avenue, Suite E
New York, NY 10128
(212) 360-6500