Dr. Kamal Thapar, MD., PhD., FRCSC., FAANS
1200 Oakleaf Way, Suite A, Altoona, WI 54720

Lumbar Spine Tumors

Lumbar spine tumors are abnormal growths of tissue that develop within the spinal canal of the low back which may compress the spinal cord. These abnormal growths can be either benign or malignant depending on the type of cells that make up the abnormal mass.


These abnormal growths can be either primary or secondary. If it is a primary tumor, that means it began in the spinal canal and did not originate elsewhere in the body. Secondary tumors are abnormal growths that occur within the spinal canal as a result of an abnormal process occurring elsewhere in the body.

Individuals with neurofibromatosis type 2 and von Hippel-Lindau disease are more likely to develop spine tumors.


– Back pain

– Leg pain

– Numbness and tingling

– Difficulty walking

– Impaired bowel and/or bladder function


In order to confirm the diagnosis of a lumbar spine tumor, an MRI of the lumbar spine is obtained in order to identify the location of any tumor present and to establish whether the spinal cord or spinal nerves are being compressed as a result of any abnormal growth. Additionally, a CT scan of the lumbar spine may be needed to further evaluate any tumor. A biopsy of any abnormal growth found may be needed to confirm the diagnosis and establish the nature of a tumor.


The treatment for a lumbar spine tumor depends on the location of the tumor, where it is arising from, and whether or not any instability is present. Generally, the treatment of lumbar spine tumors requires a team of specialists including an oncologist (tumor specialist) and neurosurgeon. If surgical intervention is required, the tumor may be removed and fusion may be required to stabilize the spine.