Author(s): Van Goethem JW, van den Hauwe L, Ozsarlak O, De Schepper AM, Parizel PM
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Abstract Spinal tumors are uncommon lesions but may cause significant morbidity in terms of limb dysfunction. In establishing the differential diagnosis for a spinal lesion, location is the most important feature, but the clinical presentation and the patient's age and gender are also important. Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging plays a central role in the imaging of spinal tumors, easily allowing tumors to be classified as extradural, intradural-extramedullary or intramedullary, which is very useful in tumor characterization. In the evaluation of lesions of the osseous spine both computed tomography (CT) and MR are important. We describe the most common spinal tumors in detail. In general, extradural lesions are the most common with metastasis being the most frequent. Intradural tumors are rare, and the majority is extramedullary, with meningiomas and nerve sheath tumors being the most frequent. Intramedullary tumors are uncommon spinal tumors. Astrocytomas and ependymomas comprise the majority of the intramedullary tumors. The most important tumors are documented with appropriate high quality CT or MR images and the characteristics of these tumors are also summarized in a comprehensive table. Finally we illustrate the use of the new World Health Organization (WHO) classification of neoplasms affecting the central nervous system.
This article was published in Eur J Radiol
and referenced in Journal of Clinical Case Reports