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Spinal Tumors can now be treated with microsurgery

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      Dr. Aditya Gupta

Young Meerut professional successfully celebrated Diwali with his family after undergoing a complex surgery in his spinal cord, which otherwise could have been life threatening. After experiencing episodes of numbness and weakness in both his arms and legs, patient Aditya Bansal had made several local consultations, where MRI of the neck revealed a non-cancerous tumor sitting inside the spinal cord.

The patient and his family members were totally devastated and worried about the complex disease and decided to visit Dr Aditya Gupta for advanced treatment options.

Detailed examination of his spine revealed a benign tumor in the cervical part of his spine that had caused weakness, numbness and gradual deterioration of his balance. Such tumors are technically known as intramedullary tumors which are one of the riskiest tumors to be removed, as in some cases, post-surgical events may result in permanent weakness in all the forelimbs. Pertaining to the size and location of the tumor and his deteriorating condition, he was advised for a minimally invasive microsurgery.  Thankfully the surgery went very well, and we were able to remove the entire tumor from the cervical spinal cord. And immediately after surgery, the patient was able to move his arms and legs freely and was able to walk with minimal support.

Though conventional open surgery remains an alternative, with a serious risk of infection, blood loss, cosmetic appeal and even paralysis.  Given the small size of the tumor, the risk would not have been advisable. This is where microsurgery becomes effective and risk-free, due to minimal pain, maintaining the cosmetic appeal, precise and minimally invasive.

As the tumor grows, it affects the spinal cord, gradually. Depending on the location and the type of tumor, the severity may vary from person to person. The usual symptoms include back pain, loss of sensation especially in legs and arms, difficulty in walking, decrease in body immunity and sensitivity to pain, increase in heat and cold sensitivity, loss of bowel movement control and muscle weakness. Back pain is the early and the foremost symptom in both cancerous and noncancerous tumors.

Treatment for spinal tumors remains a challenge in India, due to the reason that only limited technology is available, and also the fact that the spine is sensitive and can receive only a limited amount of radiation. Microsurgery is one of the best options for treatment of spinal tumors.

  • The writer is Director, Neurosurgery and Cyberknife Centre, Agrim Institute of neurosciences, Artemis Hospital

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