Continuing Education Activity
Tumors in the spine comprise about 15 percent of all central nervous system tumors. They usually are benign and cause symptoms primarily via compression of the spinal cord and nerves. Spinal tumors can be classified into three groups, based on their locations: extradural, intradural-extramedullary, and intramedullary. Extradural tumors are most common, are commonly metastatic, and occupy the vertebrae body or structures outside the dura. Intradural extramedullary tumors are the second most common and come from the leptomeninges or nerve roots. These tumors are located inside the dura but external to the spinal cord, as exemplified by meningiomas or neurofibromas. The least common are intramedullary spinal cord tumors (IMSCT), which represent 2 to 5 percent of spinal tumors and arise from the spinal cord itself, leading to invasion and destruction of the gray and white matter. Ependymomas and astrocytomas are the most commonly encountered intramedullary spinal cord tumors, followed by hemangioblastomas. Other entities include lipomas, germ cell tumors, gangliogliomas, germinomas, lymphomas, and metastases. This activity reviews the causes and presentation of spinal cord tumors and highlights the role of the interprofessional team in their management.
- Identify the etiology of intramedullary spinal cord tumors.
- Describe the presentation of a patient with an intramedullary spinal cord tumor.
- Outline the treatment and management options available for intramedullary spinal cord tumors.
- Explain the importance of improving care coordination amongst interprofessional team members to improve outcomes for patients affected by intramedullary spinal cord tumors.