Is Surgery Effective for Treating Spinal Tumors?


Spinal tumors pose a significant medical challenge, accounting for approximately 15% of all primary central nervous system tumors. Globally, the incidence of spinal tumors is estimated to range from 2 to 10 cases per 100,000 individuals annually. Among these tumors, metastatic spinal tumors are the most prevalent, making up about 70% of all spinal tumors.

Managing spinal tumors often requires a multidisciplinary approach due to their complexity. While surgery is a primary treatment option, its suitability depends on factors such as the tumor type and location, size, the patient’s overall health, and any neurological deficits present.

This blog explores whether surgery is the best treatment for spinal tumors.

What are Spinal Tumors?

Spinal tumors are abnormal tissue growths within the spinal canal or the spine’s bones. They can be classified as either primary tumors originating within the spine or secondary tumors that have spread (metastasized) to the spine from other parts of the body. Primary spinal tumors are relatively rare, accounting for only about 10% of all primary bone tumors and less than 1% of all tumors.

Dr. Puneet Girdhar is known for his expertise in performing complex spinal surgeries, including tumor removal, with a focus on patient safety and comfort. His dedication to improving the quality of life for individuals with spinal tumors makes him a trusted name in neurosurgery.

What are the Types of Spinal Tumors?

Spinal tumors can be classified based on their location within the spine (intradural, extradural, or intramedullary) and their histological characteristics (benign or malignant). Common types of spinal tumors include:

  • Meningiomas: These tumors are usually benign tumors that arise from the meninges, the protective layers surrounding the spinal cord and brain.
  • Schwannomas: These tumors are also benign tumors that develop from Schwann cells, which produce the protective covering of peripheral nerves.
  • Ependymomas: These tumors arise from the ependymal cells lining the brain’s ventricles and the spinal cord’s central canal.
  • Metastatic tumors: These are secondary tumors that have spread to the spine from other primary sites, such as the breast, lung, or prostate.

What is the Role of Surgery?

Surgery is often considered the primary treatment for many spinal tumors, especially when the cancer is causing neurological symptoms or when there is a risk of neurological damage. The goals of surgery for spinal tumors include:

  • Tumor Removal: Complete or partial tumor removal to relieve pressure on the spinal cord and nerves.
  • Biopsy: Obtaining a tissue sample for diagnosis to determine the type and nature of the tumor.
  • Stabilization: Restoring spinal stability in cases where the tumor has weakened the spine.

Dr. Girdhar states, “While surgery can be highly effective in many cases, it may not always be necessary or appropriate, especially for slow-growing, benign tumors that are not causing symptoms. In such cases, a “watch-and-wait” approach may be adopted, where the patient is monitored regularly for any changes in the tumor size or symptoms.”

What are the Benefits of Surgery?

Surgery offers the following benefits:

  • Symptom Relief: Surgery can help alleviate pain, weakness, numbness, and other neurological symptoms caused by the tumor.
  • Prevention of Neurological Damage: Surgery can prevent or reduce the risk of permanent neurological damage caused by spinal cord compression or nerves.
  • Improved Quality of Life: Surgery can improve the patient’s quality of life and overall well-being by relieving symptoms and restoring function.

A patient, happy with Dr. Puneet Girdhar’s treatment, shared, “After my spinal tumor diagnosis, I was referred to Dr. Girdhar. His knowledge, expertise, and compassionate approach were evident from our first consultation. He explained my condition thoroughly and discussed all treatment options. The surgery was successful, and I am recovering well. I highly recommend Dr. Girdhar to anyone needing spinal tumor treatment.”

Another patient expressed gratitude, stating, “Suffering from severe back pain and weakness due to a spinal tumor, I consulted Dr. Puneet Girdhar. His team provided excellent care throughout the process. The surgery was successful, and I experienced immediate relief. I am thankful for Dr. Girdhar’s expertise and compassionate care.”

What is the Cost of Surgical Management of Spinal Tumors in India?

The cost of surgical management of spinal tumors in India can vary depending on several factors, such as the hospital, the surgeon’s fees, the type of surgery required, the complexity of the tumor, and the patient’s overall health. However, as a rough estimate, the cost can range from INR 3,00,000 to INR 8,00,000 or more. This would cost approximately $4,000 to $10,000 or more in USD. It’s important to note that these are approximate costs and can vary significantly.


While surgery plays a crucial role in the management of many spinal tumors, determining the best treatment approach requires careful consideration of various factors. A comprehensive evaluation by a multidisciplinary team, including neurosurgeons, oncologists, and radiation oncologists, is essential to develop an individualized treatment plan that offers the best outcomes for each patient. Advances in surgical techniques, such as minimally invasive surgery, have improved the safety and effectiveness of spinal tumor surgery, offering new hope for patients with this challenging condition.


1. Can spinal tumors be prevented?

There are no known ways to prevent spinal tumors, but early detection and treatment can improve outcomes.

2. What are the symptoms of spinal tumors?

Symptoms may include back pain, weakness, numbness, difficulty walking, and loss of bowel or bladder control.

3. How are spinal tumors diagnosed?

Diagnosis involves imaging tests such as MRI or CT scans and a biopsy to determine the type of tumor.

4. What is the prognosis for spinal tumor patients?

Prognosis varies depending on the type of tumor, its location, and the effectiveness of treatment.

5. Is chemotherapy used to treat spinal tumors?

Chemotherapy is sometimes used, particularly for metastatic spinal tumors, but its effectiveness can vary.

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