Review of Rare Cervical Spine TumorsThere aren't very many reports on the treatment and results for cancerous tumors of the cervical spine (neck). In this study, 35 cases of rare cervical spine tumors are treated surgically.
Pain, neurologic symptoms, and cancer recurrence are used to track results. The authors were hoping to find out which factors affect results the most. Patients were followed anywhere from six months up to 15 years.
Surgery was done on all 35 patients to remove some or all of the tumor. Removing all of the tumor is best. But some tumors were more difficult to remove because of their location. The anatomy in this area is complex. It's possible to damage vital blood vessels or nerves. Fusion to stabilize the spine was necessary more than half the time. Some patients with malignant tumors received radiation therapy or chemotherapy before and/or after surgery.
MRIs were used to look for signs of any cancer recurrence. Patients were asked about pain and other symptoms either by phone or during follow-up visits. Surgery was successful for most of the patients. Neurologic symptoms and pain were decreased or eliminated.
Tumor regrowth was common with chordoma tumors. Chordomas are malignant, and they tend to develop in the upper cervical region where total removal is difficult, if not impossible.
Type of tumor and location were the two most important factors in the final outcome. Some patients with malignant tumors were still alive and free of painful symptoms up to eight years after surgery was done to remove the tumor.
Mehmet Zileli, MD, et al. Primary Tumors of the Cervical Spine: A Retrospective Review of 35 Surgically Managed Cases. In The Spine Journal. March 2007. Vol. 7. No. 2. Pp. 165-173.
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