A Northwestern Medicine physician examining a spine X-ray.

Chordoma Treatment at the No. 1 Hospital in Illinois

Chordomas are rare tumors that occur in the bones of the skull base and spine. They are malignant - potentially fatal - tumors that tend to grow slowly and spread to other parts of the body. Unfortunately, it still isn’t possible to predict how fast these tumors grow or whether they will spread.

Pioneering New Treatments

Northwestern Medicine physicians are working to develop new treatments for chordoma, including use of 3-D printing for spine reconstruction and other new technologies for the removal of spinal tumors. There are also new chemotherapeutic options for patients through clinical trials, as well as the use of radiation therapy in the form of proton beam, the newest type of stereotactic radiosurgery, available at only a few research centers in the country.

Coordinated Patient Care

Our patients are cared for by a team of experts who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of chordoma, including:

  • Neurosurgeons
  • Orthopaedic surgeons
  • Radiation oncologists
  • Medical oncologists
  • Reconstructive/plastic surgeons
  • Oncology social workers
  • Rehabilitation specialists

Why Choose Northwestern Medicine

Surgical expertise

While many surgeons may only perform one chordoma surgery in their lifetime, our chordoma surgeon performs dozens of these surgeries each year. Jean-Paul Wolinsky, MD, is nationally recognized in his excellence in chordoma removal.

Choosing the best tumor surgeon is the most important decision you can make when facing a chordoma because it is one of the few tumors that can “seed” its cells to surrounding tissues. If the tumor happens to be ruptured during surgery, tumor cells can spill into surrounding areas and grow uncontrolled. The first surgery is your best chance at a cure.

The only proton center in Illinois

A graphic showing the benefits of proton therapy.Your care team at Northwestern Medicine Chordoma Center works closely with specialists at Northwestern Medicine Chicago Proton Center1, one of the few proton therapy centers in the Midwest and the only one in Illinois.

In treating tumors near the spine, proton therapy uses highly targeted treatment to precisely deliver the radiation dose to the tumor. This level of precision concentrates energy on destroying the tumor while limiting damage to surrounding healthy tissue.

Excellence in post-operative care

Northwestern Medicine Chordoma Center offers comprehensive post-operative care services, including physical and occupational therapy, through Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital, now part of Northwestern Medicine, and the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab2, formerly known as Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC). Your rehabilitation team will work closely with your medical and surgical team to help ensure the best recovery possible.

Legal Information
1

The physicians who practice at the Northwestern Medicine Chicago Proton Center are neither agents nor employees of Northwestern Memorial HealthCare or any of its affiliate organizations. These physicians have selected our facilities as the place where they want to treat and care for their private patients.

2

By clicking on these websites, you are leaving the Northwestern Medicine website. These websites are independent resources. Northwestern Medicine does not operate or control the content of these websites. By visiting these websites, you agree to this third party’s terms of use for their website.

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