Spinal Tumor Diagnosis

If your doctor suspects a spinal tumor, you will likely undergo one or more of the following:

  • Complete physical and neurologic exam: Including a complete health history
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): This type of body scanning uses an SUV-sized device, built around a powerful magnet and linked to a computer, to take detailed pictures of the interior of your spine. In some cases, a harmless dye, injected through a blood vessel in your arm or hand, helps highlight differences during the scan.
  • Computerized Tomography (CT) scan/3-D imaging: An advanced, computer-assisted x-ray machine takes detailed pictures of the spine that can be used in surgical planning
  • Nuclear medicine bone scan: A small amount of radioactive material is injected into a blood vessel, where it travels through the bloodstream to the bones. This scan can show if cancer has spread to the bone.
  • Biopsy: Taking a sample of the suspicious tissue, may be part of a larger surgical procedure to correct the symptoms caused by the tumor. A biopsy is the most certain way to diagnose and plan treatment for a spinal tumor.