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Excision of spinal cord tumours

Summary

Excision of spinal cord tumours

There are three common types of spinal tumours: Extradural, intradural-extramedullary tumours, and intramedullary tumours. Some tumours arise from cells within the spinal bones or bonemarrow, but most are secondary malignant tumours which have spread from a primary tumour elsewhere. Excision of a spinal tumour is carried out under general anaesthetic. The soft tissues are dissected to expose the back of the spine. The superficial spinal bones (the laminae) are removed to access the spinal canal. Within the spinal canal is a tissue-lined compartment that contains the spinal cord and nerves that are bathed in cerebrospinal fluid. The dura is opened parallel to the long axis of the spine to expose the spinal cord and nerves. Using microsurgical technique, the tumour is dissected free from the surrounding normal structures. Once the tumour is removed the dura is sutured closed. The curative outcome of this surgery depends entirely on the type of tumour involved.

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