A spinal tumor is an abnormal mass of tissue within or surrounding the spinal cord. These cells grow and multiply uncontrollably, seemingly unchecked by the mechanisms that control normal cells. Spinal tumors can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Primary tumors originate in the spine or spinal cord, and metastatic or secondary tumors result from cancer spreading from another site to the spine.

Extradural – The tumor is located outside the dura, which is the thin covering surrounding the spinal cord. Frequency of occurrence in this location vs the ones above is approximately 55%. These lesions are typically attributed to metastatic cancer or less commonly schwannomas derived from the cells covering the nerve roots. Occasionally, an extradural tumor extends through the intervertebral foramina, lying partially within and partially outside of the spinal canal.