Epidemiology of Spinal Cord Tumors



Primary spinal tumors are a group of tumors which originate from the spinal cord (intradural) or the vertebral column (extradural). In contrary, the metastatic tumors of these regions constitute the secondary tumors of the spine which metastasis or extend to these spinal compartments from a long-distance via hematogenous way or from close surrounding structures. The primary tumor group includes a wide range of neoplasms that can be encountered throughout the spine. Primary tumors of the spine commonly originate from cartilaginous, osseous, neural, and perineural structures. Although, these tumors differ significantly from each other in terms of origin and location, improper use of the correct terminology related to the spinal tumor classification and its subtypes can be found in the literature. To eliminate this confusion, and for the ease of understanding, clarification of the relevant definitions of these terms is of great importance and priority. The terminological contradiction is commonly found between the terms “spinal tumor” and “spinal cord tumor”. These two terms are sometimes used interchangeably. Even when it does not originate from the spinal cord, any pathology affecting the spinal cord—whether it is a metastatic or primary vertebral column tumor—can be misnamed as spinal cord tumor without considering its origin.


Primary spinal tumor Secondary spinal tumor Metastatic tumor Spinal tumor Spinal cord Vertebral column Tumor classification Terminology 

Supplementary material

Video 2.1

Microsurgical en bloc removal of an intramedullary cervical ependymoma. (MP4 265356 kb)

Video 2.2

Microsurgical resection of an intradural cervical schwannoma via the posterior midline spinal approach. (MP4 360939 kb)


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Medicine, Department of NeurosurgeryAnkara UniversityAnkaraTurkey

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