Spine tumors 1 – Introduction to a location-based approach

Spine tumors can be a challenging topic for a neuroradiologist because we deal less with tumors in the spinal cord and spinal canal. However, there is a relatively simple approach that can hep you hone your differential diagnosis. This involves taking a location-based approach which divides the spinal canal into 3 main regions.

  • Intramedullary – in the spinal cord
  • Extramedullary intradural – in the thecal sac (within the dura) but outside the spinal cord
  • Extradural – outside the dura

Then, you can formulate your differential based on the normal structures in those regions. You can’t always tell the exactly location of a lesion, but you can use the displacement of normal structures to help you try to decide. Then you know how to guide your differential.

By the end of this video you will be able to name the three main compartments of the spine for classification of tumors. The subsequent videos will help walk you through the more specific locations using case examples and potential mimics.

Special thanks to Dr. Michael Hoch for helping with this lecture and Dr. John Loh for handing down the drawing over the generations!

The level of this lecture is appropriate for radiology residents, radiology fellows, and trainees in other specialties who have an interest in neuroradiology or may see patients with spine tumors.

Other videos on the spine tumor playlist are found here.