The spinal cord is a long tubular band of nerve fibers enclosed in the bony structure called the vertebral column. The tumors that occur within this enclosed structure are called spinal cord tumors. These tumors may be benign or malignant in nature. Most of these tumors are metastasized from other body parts.

Following are the various causes of spinal cord tumors briefly explained by the best neurosurgeon Dr. Kalyan Bommakanti.

1.Genetic mutation:

Genetic defects may be a cause of the origin of the tumors in the spinal cord. Usually, these mutations have been seen in particular families so it is supposed that it runs in the families. These mutations may be congenital or may develop with time. In some cases, spinal cord tumors may occur with the occurrence of some genetic diseases i.e. neurofibromatosis and Von Hippel-Lindau disease.

2. Exposure to cancerous substances:

Direct or indirect exposure to cancerous chemicals or substances may lead to the cause of spinal cord tumors. These substances may transfer by air or by physical contact. These substances may be present in the environment.

3. Weak immune system:

A compromised immune system may lead to spinal cord tumors as it increases the prevalence of spinal cord lymphomas. These lymphomas affect the immune cells i.e. lymphocytes.

4. Metastasized tumors:

Secondary tumors, also known as metastasized tumors, are a common cause of spinal cord tumors. These tumors are spread to the spine from elsewhere in the body. Usually, they spread by entering the systems that are responsible for the exchange of fluids around the body such as the lymphatic system or the bloodstream. These systems transfer the cancer cells with the fluid they are already supplying. Spinal tumors may also develop from the primary tumor present nearby such as in the liver, lungs, abdomen, and bones.

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What are Intradural-extrmedullary and extradural spinal cord tumors?

Spinal cord tumors are the tumors inside or in the lining of the spinal cord enclosed in the vertebral column. These tumors may be benign or metastatic. These tumors are classified on the basis of their location and size.

In this article, the best spine surgeon Dr. Kalyan Bommakanti has explained the Intradural-extramedullary and extradural spinal cord tumors.

  1. Intradural-extramedullary tumors:

The outermost layer of the spinal cord is the dura sheath. The tumors developed in this sheath but outside the spinal cord are the intradural-extramedullary tumors. Usually, these tumors are benign. The symptoms may include weakness and pain.

Intradural-extramedullary tumors are further divided into the following sub-types:

i. Meningiomas:

These spinal tumors are formed in the membranes covering the spinal cord. These tumors are more common in women than men and appears usually in the back in the upper portion. They may be cancerous or not, but usually, they are not cancerous. As the tumor grows, symptoms like pain, weakness, numbness, or bowel/bladder incontinence can be seen.

ii. Neurofibroma:

A Neurofibroma occurs in the outer layering and the nerves of the spine. Usually, it accompanies a condition called neurofibromatosis. This condition is responsible for causing spinal tumors. The growth rate of these tumors is slow.  

iii. Schwannoma:

This type of spinal cord tumor is caused by Schwann cells, these cells produce myelin sheath for the protection of the nerves. It may be congenital. In most cases, they are non-cancerous however they may grow in size and put pressure on the spinal cord. It may result in symptoms like pain, weakness, or numbness.

2. Extradural tumor:

A tumor that is formed outside the dura is known as the extradural tumor. Usually, they are metastatic and have spread from any other part of the body. These tumors also involve the vertebral column. Almost 55% of the spinal cord tumors occur in this part of the spine.


What are the intramedullary spinal cord tumors?

The spinal cord is a tube consisting of nerve bundles running along the spinal canal, carrying messages from the brain to the body and vice versa. The formation of a tumor in or around the spinal canal is called a spinal cord tumor. These tumors may be benign (localized) or malignant (can transfer to other body parts). Whether malignant or benign, these tumors can compress the nerve bundles passing nearby causing numbness, pain, and loss of sensations in the affected area.

The best spine surgeon in India Dr. Kalyan Bommakanti has classified the various sub-types of intramedullary spinal cord tumors according to their size and location.

  1. Intramedullary tumors:

Spinal cord tumors that grow inside the spinal cord are called intramedullary tumors. Usually, they appear in the cervical/neck region. These tumors are further classified into sub-types such as:

i. Ependymoma:

Ependymal cells are located in the spinal cord and act as a lining to the central canal while helping in regulating the fluid flow within the spinal canal. The tumor of these cells is called Ependymoma – the most common type of spinal cord tumors. These tumors spread at a slow rate and can cause symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and bowel and bladder incontinence.

ii. Astrocytoma:

Astrocytes are star-shaped cells (gliomas) located in the spinal cord and the brain that regulates the proper functioning of the nerve cells. A tumor of astrocytes is called astrocytoma. Astrocytomas are usually found in the thoracic region. They may cause weakness in the legs and gait problems. This type of spinal cord tumor is most common in children.

iii. Lipomas:

Lipomas are congenital and are very rare. They arise in the fat tissue present in the middle of the back i.e. cervicothoracic region.

iv. Hemangioblastoma:

This type of tumor is usually non-cancerous and can occur in any area of the spinal cord. They arise in the blood vessels lining the spinal cord and the brain. It may cause disturbance in the balance and weakness in various parts.



A spinal cord tumor is a tumor within the spinal cord enclosed by the spine. An uncontrolled cell growth results in the tumor. It may be benign or malignant depending on the root cause of it. Spinal cord tumors can seriously compromise the body’s functioning according to the level of the damaged neurons.

The symptoms caused by it depend upon the growth of the tumor. Here are the symptoms of spinal cord tumors explained by Dr. Kalyan Bommakanti – the best neurosurgeon in India.

1. Back pain:

Back pain is a common early and non-mechanical symptom of the tumors of the spine. The pain is not associated with any injury or trauma. However, it remains consistent and may increase with increased activity and even at night while lying down. The pain may also radiate to other body parts such as hips, feet, legs, arms, or chest.

2. Muscle weakness or sensations loss:

The damage to the nerve bundles passing across the spinal cord may result in numbness and complete/partial loss of sensations in several body parts. The affected areas may experience less sensitivity to several environmental factors such as hot or cold. This may also result in weakness of the muscles in the affected areas, especially the legs and arms.

3. Loss of bowel and bladder function:

The normal functioning of the bowel and bladder may also be affected if the associated nerves are damaged. It may cause incontinence of the bowel and bladder or complete loss of control in extreme cases.

4. Difficulty in walking:

The person experiences difficulty in walking as his balance and coordination may also be affected. It becomes so persistent that sometimes he ends up trembling or even falling.

5. Paralysis:

In extreme cases of nerve damage, the body may go into paralysis. Its intensity and location depend upon the level of injury.


What are Spinal Cord Tumors?

The spine is a long and flexible structure running through the back from the skull’s base to the tailbone, consisting of vertebras and intervertebral discs. It encloses a long band of tissues called the spinal cord. The spinal cord is made up of nerve fibers that conduct the sensations from the brain to the body and from the body to the brain. It controls all the sensations and movements of the body. Damage or injury to the spinal cord may cause a complete/partial loss of sensory or motor functions.

The abnormal growth of the tissues within or next to the spinal cord/ vertebral column is called a spinal cord tumor. The cells keep multiplying at an abnormal and uncontrollable rate. This abnormal growth may compress the spinal cord resulting in the damage of the nerve fibers running through the spinal cord conducting sensations to and from the spinal cord. Depending on the type and intensity of the damage may be temporary or permanent. Permanent damage to the spinal cord may be avoided by prompt evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment.

Here is a brief summary of the spinal cord tumors explained by the best spine surgeon Dr. Kalyan Bommakanti.

A spinal cord tumor is also called an intradural tumor as it occurs within the spinal cord or the dura (covering of the spinal cord). Spinal tumors may be primary (benign) or metastatic (secondary). Benign tumors are non-cancerous while malignant tumors are cancerous. Usually, the spinal tumors are a result of cancer metastasis – the type of cancer that has spread from any other part of the body to the spine. However benign tumors are those which originate within the spinal cord. Benign tumors are non-cancerous while malignant is cancerous. Due to the advancement in technology, the chances of these tumors being cured have increased with time.

BLOG&NEWS Sciatica and key hole spine surgery


Sciatic pain is caused by the impingement or inflammation of the sciatic nerve in the lumbar spine. It may cause pain, numbness, or muscle weakness in the lower back, legs, or foot. The intensity of pain may vary among individuals, and proper care and precautions must be taken to minimize the symptoms.

The best neurosurgeon Dr. Kalyan Bommakanti has explained different factors that may aggravate the sciatic pain:

1.Being obese:

Being overweight may be a cause of many health problems. The more the weight is, the more the strain and pressure are put on the body, especially the musculoskeletal system. Bones and joints are affected mostly by this, as they need to carry a heavy load hence resulting in weakness. The lower back is the place that is usually affected by it a lot, as there is a shift in the center of gravity due to excessive weight, resulting in putting pressure on the lumbar spine and causing disc herniation. It may eventually compress the sciatic nerve. To manage it or prevent it, it is advised to maintain a healthy weight.

2. Wearing uncomfortable shoes:

Wearing the wrong shoe may seriously disturb the biomechanics of gait pattern, unequal weight distribution, increased stress on the lower back, and aggravates the symptoms of sciatica. The increase of pressure in the lower back directly compresses the sciatic nerve.

3. Excessively loaded back pocket:

When you continue to sit for a prolonged time with an excessively loaded back pocket, it exerts direct pressure on the piriformis muscle under which the sciatic nerve runs.

4. Lifting weight with your back:

While lifting loads, the bending posture puts a lot of pressure on the lumbar discs. Due to excessive load, the vertebral discs may bulge out causing disc herniation ultimately compressing the sciatic nerve.

5. Pregnancy:

In pregnant women, it is common to experience piriformis syndrome due to the increasing fetus that results in the anterior shift of the pelvis resulting in the tightening of the piriformis muscle. Sciatic occurs as a secondary symptom of this syndrome.

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