Spine tumors are a group of abnormal cells in the bones of the spine and sacrum or in the spinal canal. Surgery is a common treatment for many spine tumors, and it is often the first type of treatment used. For some patients, it may be the only treatment they need. The type of surgery depends on the type of tumor, as well as its size and location. Your neurosurgeon will try to remove your whole tumor if possible.
If your surgical team cannot remove all of the tumor without harming your spine, they will take out as much of the tumor as they can. They may use non-surgical treatments, like radiation and chemotherapy, to destroy the remaining tumor cells.
Northwestern Memorial Hospital serves patients with spine tumors from across the country and around the world. Through Lou and Jean Malnati Brain Tumor Institute, we offer many services. We are committed to caring for each patient throughout their cancer journey. Our team can often offer innovative treatments, not yet widely available, through clinical trials.
Meet Our Team
Advanced Diagnosis and Treatment
Primary spine tumors can be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer). A CT scan-guided biopsy (when cells or tissue are removed for further study) helps identify the tumor. It also informs your treatment .
At Northwestern Memorial Hospital, we offer innovative imaging and diagnostic tools, as well as the most advanced surgical and non-surgical treatment options. Our neuro-oncology team is one of the largest in the country and includes world-renowned experts. Our radiation oncologists offer the latest radiation technologies, including radiosurgery and proton beam therapy. We perform more brain and spine tumor surgeries than any other health system in Illinois.
Complex cases are reviewed by Northwestern Neuro-Oncology Tumor Board. The board is made up of some of the world’s leading experts in their fields and includes:
- Radiation oncologists
- Neurologists specializing in tumor-related epilepsy
- Cancer genetic counselors
Our experts care for all types of primary spine tumors, including:
- Alveolar soft part sarcoma
- Aneurysmal bone cyst (ABC)
- Ewing sarcoma
- Giant cell tumor
- Hemangioma (atypical hemangioma)
- Hemangiopericytoma (solitary fibrous tumor)
- Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor (MPNST)
- Osteoid osteoma
We offer a range of treatments for spine tumors. These include non-surgical, surgical and minimally invasive treatment options such as:
- 3-D Conformal Radiation Therapy
- Clinical trials
- External Beam Radiation Therapy (EBRT)
- Gamma Knife® Radiosurgery
- High-dose Rate (HDR) Brachytherapy
- Image-Guided Radiotherapy
- Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy
- Low-Dose Brachytherapy
- Minimally Invasive Surgery
- Proton Therapy
- Radiation Therapy
- Stereotactic Radiosurgery
A National Destination for Brain and Spine Tumor Second Opinions
After you get a brain or spine tumor diagnosis, finding the right treatment can seem overwhelming. Getting a second opinion can help you feel confident about your diagnosis and treatment plan. People across the country turn to our team of experts for second opinions. To make an appointment, call us at 833.882.BRAIN (833.882.7246) or fill out a form.
Better Outcomes for Patients With Brain and Spine Tumors
Our physicians and research scientists strive to discover new treatments for glioblastoma and other gliomas, brain metastases, meningioma and other brain and spine tumors. These efforts have contributed to better treatments and outcomes for our patients. We are committed to clinical research and bringing the most advanced treatments to our patients. That translates into better survival rates and a better quality of life for people with brain and spine tumors.
At Northwestern Medicine, our team specializes in tumors in the brain and spinal cord. We look at many types of information to ensure the most accurate diagnoses possible. We can even do this analysis on tissue that has been resected (removed) at other institutions.