Diagnosis and Treatment

Upon your arrival at Mount Sinai, a spine tumor specialist will conduct a thorough physical examination to diagnose your condition and evaluate your level of urgency.

Weakness is a typical a sign of urgency, and if that is the case, your doctor will usually recommend an MRI and possibly surgery or other treatments. Pain and numbness, however, may sometimes be treated by more conservative means.

If your doctor detects a tumor, our spine tumor team will evaluate the extent to which the tumor has spread. A team of surgeons, oncologists, radiation specialists, and rehabilitation specialists will then formulate your treatment plan.

Treatment may consist of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, or some combination of these modalities, depending on your particular situation. Typically, pain medications, steroids, and physical therapy are also employed. We focus on treating the tumor as effectively as possible, while improving quality of life and maintaining normal function.

Tumors often compromise the stability of your spine by destroying key stabilizing components. In those cases, your doctor may use metal instruments, such as screws and rods, to stabilize your spine. Your doctor will take into account your overall medical condition when determining treatment.

Whether we use a minimally invasive procedure or traditional "open" surgery depends upon the location of your tumor, your symptoms, and your MRI findings. At Mount Sinai, we use minimally invasive techniques for many of our spine tumor surgeries. These techniques are well-tolerated and allow for a quicker recovery time than open surgery.

Surgeries we perform

We perform the following surgeries for spine tumors:

  • Fusion. Stabilizing vertebrae (bones of the spine) that are "unstable" (have too much abnormal motion). Fusion is typically done by implanting titanium screws and rods through either an "open" or minimally invasive procedure.
  • Instrumentation. Implanting metal screws and rods into the spine to stabilize it. The metal is typically titanium, which allows patients to safely undergo postoperative MRIs if needed.
  • Laminectomy. The removal of bone, ligament, or disc to allow access to a spine tumor. Laminectomy can be performed through "open" or minimally invasive techniques.
  • Minimally invasive diskectomy/fusion. Refers to procedures done through smaller incisions, with a shorter hospital stay, less post-operative pain, and quicker recovery. It is not appropriate in every case or for every patient.
  • Combination Minimally Invasive Surgery and Radiation or Chemotherapy can be tailored to the particular tumor of the spine, either metastatic or primary. This treatment will include minimally invasive radiation treatments and chemotherapy tailored to the particular tumor biology. When appropriate, resection of the tumor will be combined in the treatment plan
  • Sacrectomy. A technically challenging surgery to remove the last bone of the spine (sacrum) in an effort to cure certain aggressive types of tumors.
  • Vertebrectomy/corpectomy. Surgical removal of the vertebra (bone) that contains the spine tumor.

We can help

If you have been diagnosed with a spine tumor or suspect you may have one, please call The Mount Sinai Health System at 1-800-MD-SINAI (800-637-4624). We are conveniently located in the Upper East Side of New York City.


Contact Us

Tel: 1-800-MD-SINAI (800-637-4624)

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