For patients with chronic pain who have not had satisfactory results through conservative treatments and are not likely to be relieved through surgery, an Intrathecal Pump Implant can make life much more pleasant. A temporary system is implanted first, and if the pain is reduced, a permanent system may be implanted. The pump/catheter system delivers a small amount of medicine to the designated area of the spine, preventing pain signals from being perceived by the brain. Regular doctor visits are needed to refill the pump, which usually lasts 3-5 years before needing to be replaced.

Spine Tumor Surgery

Surgical removal of a spine tumor is indicated for patients who may benefit from the tumor removal, either in terms of removing the cancer and/or lessening any severe symptoms associated with the tumor.

There are many types of surgery that may be considered as part of treatment for a spinal tumor. In general, there are two categories of surgery:

  • Minimally invasive surgery – surgical approaches that include relatively small incision(s)
  • Open surgery – more extensive surgical procedures that require larger incision(s)

Minimally invasive procedures are more commonly performed, although open (more extensive) surgical procedures may be an option in certain cases.

Spinal Cord Tumor Surgery

Before and during the operation, the surgeon and neurophysiologists conduct electrophysiological monitoring of spinal cord function. This monitoring includes SSEPs (somatosensory evoked potentials) and MEPs (motor evoked potentials), tests that show the electrical impulse of a signal passing through the spinal cord and spinal nerves.

Within the spinal canal is a tissue-lined compartment that contains the spinal cord and nerves, which are bathed in cerebrospinal fluid. The tissue lining of this compartment is known as the dura. The dura is opened to expose the spinal cord and nerves.

Neurosurgeons apply microsurgical techniques to carefully dissect the tumor from the surrounding structures to the greatest extent possible for safe removal. Electrophysiological monitoring continues during this period to continue to oversee safety of the spinal cord. Once the tumor is removed the dura is sutured or stitched closed.