Spinal cord tumours
Tumours of the spine and cranial stem first develop in the tissue of the spinal cord. These are intramedullary astrocytomas and ependymomas, which are normally classified by WHO as benign, but which can also occasionally be malignant. Neuromas and neurofibromas are intra-spinal, extramedullary and assume dimensions that cause neurological symptoms due to compression of the spine. The meningiomas arising from the meninges surrounding the spinal cord are also extramedullary. Despite their dimensions, these are benign and mostly respond positively to micro-surgical treatment. Here too, modern neuro-monitoring techniques can be useful. Intramedullary metastases are relatively rare (melanomas). Metastatical intra-spinal space-demanding tumours are mostly caused by infection of the adjacent vertebral body (prostate cancer). The total or partial neurosurgical resectioning of these tumours leads to improvements in neurological function, reduces or eliminates accompanying pain and contributes to a better quality of life.