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2018
A New Focus On Spinal Tumors

Our Fellowship-Trained Neurosurgeons Provide Comprehensive Diagnosis, Surgical Intervention And Management Of Spinal Oncologic Disease In One Practice

For years, the neurosurgeons of Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates have provided innovative surgical treatment for spinal tumors. Our practice continues to expand the treatment options available in this region, including effective new treatment modalities performed by spine surgeons Andrew Healy, MD, and Christopher Holland, MD. PhD.

“We offer the complete spectrum of diagnostic and surgical options while working in conjunction with medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, interventional radiologists, and primary care physicians,” said Dr. Healy.
This makes Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates a single contact point for patients to review all their treatment options, as opposed to making and traveling to appointments with multiple specialists.

Spinal Tumor Techniques Performed By Our Neurosurgeons:
  • Andrew Healy, MD
    Christopher Holland, MD. PhD
    Minimally Invasive Biopsy
  • Microsurgical Resection
  • Open and Percutaneous Spine Stabilization
  • Minimally Invasive Decompression and Fusion
  • En bloc Resection
  • Vertebral Column Resection
  • Vertebral Column Reconstruction
  • Circumferential Decompression
  • Transthoracic and Thoracoscopic Approaches
  • Lateral Retroperitoneal Approach
  • Vertebral Augmentation (Kyphoplasty and Vertebroplasty)
  • Radiofrequency Ablation
  • Stereotactic Radiosurgery
  • Separation Surgery
Advanced Treatment
Our complex spine surgeons provide comprehensive treatment for all types of spinal tumors, including benign and malignant tumors. They perform surgery for biopsy and diagnosis, staged tumor resection, complete tumor removal, and tumor debulking in order to safely allow radiation therapy. They also perform coordinated, dual-surgeon operations for more extensive and complex tumor procedures.

For tumors that are unresponsive to traditional radiation, separation surgery in combination with adjuvant stereotactic radiosurgery is now a minimally invasive option. Rather than removing the entire tumor, which is a major operation, separation surgery involves creating space between the tumor and the spinal cord. This relieves pressure on the spinal cord and is followed by high-dose, image-guided, focused radiation.

En bloc resection involves removing the spinal tumor completely, in one piece. This surgical technique is often used to remove primary tumors that are located inside or next to the spine.

This imaging shows a patient with metastatic breast cancer, who is experiencing critical spinal stenosis with cord compression and spinal instability. Surgery involved a two-stage lateral corpectomy and posterior fusion with complete L1 vertebrectomy, with postoperative gross total resection and instrumented fusion.
Lateral retroperitoneal and transthoracic surgical approaches provide excellent minimally invasive access to areas of the spine that were previously difficult or impossible to reach with traditional, open procedures.

OsteoCool Radiofrequency Tumor Ablation uses targeted heat energy to destroy cancer cells. This technique is used for palliative treatment in spinal procedures by ablation of metastatic malignant lesions.

“Our practice provides complete evaluation of a patient’s spinal oncologic disease,” said Dr. Holland. “We are a comprehensive single stop, where patients can get a precise surgical plan for the treatment and management of their disease.”

To learn more about our spinal oncology services, call 800-344-6716.

Types Of Spinal Tumors

Spinal tumors can cause pain, neurological problems, permanent disability and paralysis, and even death. Because there are multiple types of spinal tumors, and they can manifest in different parts of the spine, each patient requires a focused, individualized assessment and treatment approach.

Most spinal tumors are metastatic, spreading from cancer in a different part of the body. Fewer than 10 percent of spinal tumors begin in the spine. These are known as primary spinal tumors.

The main types of primary spinal tumors are vertebral, which begin in the bones in the spine, and intradural, which originate within the spinal cord or covering of the spinal cord.

Types of intradural tumors are:

Intramedullary - These tumors begin in the cells within the spinal cord. They occur most often in the cervical spine, are often benign and can be difficult to remove.

Extramedullary - These tumors originate in either the nerve roots that reach out from the spinal cord or the membrane surrounding the spinal cord. Extramedullary tumors are often benign and slow growing. They can cause spinal cord compression and affect spinal function.

Symptoms Of A Spinal Tumor
Spinal tumors can affect the spinal cord or the nerve roots, blood vessels or bones of the spine. Symptoms include:
  • Pain at the site of the tumor
  • Back pain radiating to other parts of the body
  • Less sensitivity to pain, heat and cold
  • Loss of bowel or bladder function
  • Loss of sensation or muscle weakness, especially in the arms or legs
  • Back pain that’s worse at night
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