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Extramedullary Spinal Cord Tumor

Last Updated: October 1, 2018

Resection of a Myxopapillary Ependymoma‚Äč

Tumor Subtypes

Extramedullary primary tumors of the spinal cord, the spinal meninges, the cauda equina, and spinal nerves are relatively rare lesions that account for 3% of all central nervous system tumors and 4% of all spinal tumors.

Together, meningiomas, nerve sheath tumors, and ependymomas comprise 90% of all spinal cord tumors. Recent epidemiologic surveys indicate an estimated overall incidence of 0.74 to 1.5/100,000 person-years for these tumors during the MRI era. Approximately two-thirds of spinal cord tumors are reported as nonmalignant.

Extramedullary spinal cord tumors represent 42% to 67% of all tumors of the spinal canal. Most of these are exclusively intradural (~85%), whereas the remainder demonstrate some extradural extension. The most common histologic types of extramedullary spinal cord tumors are meningiomas (25-46%), nerve sheath tumors (33.9%), and ependymomas of the fil...