Dr. S Vidyadhara

Chairman and HOD - Spine surgery and Consultant - Robotic Spine Surgery

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Reviewed by

Dr. S Vidyadhara

Chairman and HOD - Spine surgery and Consultant - Robotic Spine Surgery

Manipal Hospitals, Old Airport Road

Battling A Spinal Cord Tumor During Pregnancy

Reviewed by:

Dr. S Vidyadhara

Posted On: Jun 03, 2024

blogs read 4 Min Read

Battling a Spinal Cord Tumor During Pregnancy

Although affecting only about 1 in a million people annually, spinal cord tumours can be a silent threat. They commonly manifest as back pain, neurological deficits, limb weakness, numbness, and sometimes symptoms specific to the level of the spinal cord affected. Pregnant women may mistake these symptoms for common pregnancy-related changes. This overlap can lead to delayed diagnosis, which is concerning because early intervention is crucial for both the mother’s and the baby's health.

Therefore, staying aware of spinal cord tumour symptoms, treatment, and everything else is important for your well-being. Let’s learn about these tumours in detail with the help of a successful spinal cord tumour removal surgery case in a pregnant woman.


Spinal Cord Tumors in Pregnancy

Spinal cord tumours during pregnancy are exceedingly rare. Pregnancy, however, can complicate the diagnosis and management of spinal cord tumours because of overlapping symptoms and the need to balance the health of both the mother and the fetus. Spinal cord tumours have the potential to cause spinal cord compression, which can lead to a variety of symptoms, from slight pain to serious neurological impairments. With prompt identification and management, we can prevent symptoms from getting worse.

Consult our spine surgeon in Bangalore if you need treatment for Spinal Cord Tumor During Pregnancy.

A Unique and Challenging Case

A 21-year-old pregnant woman in her third trimester presented at Manipal Comprehensive Spine Care Centre with a complaint of having unsteadiness while walking for the past two months. Feeling unsteady is common during pregnancy, and that's why it is often recognized as a normal physical change. However, a closer look revealed signs of spinal cord compression and weakening in her ankle muscles. 

Imaging studies revealed that her spinal cord was compressed by an intradural tumour that stretched from the upper dorsal region (upper back) to the lower cervical region. Left untreated, this tumour presented a high risk of progressive lower limb weakness, potentially leading to paraplegia and loss of bladder and bowel control, as well as premature delivery and increased risk for the baby.

Dr. Alia Vidyadhara led the spinal anaesthesia team at Manipal Hospital Old Airport Road, while the Obstetrics and Gynaecology team was led by Dr. Gayathri Karthik Nagesh. Together, they skilfully balanced the delicate task of completing a complicated spine operation with the safety and well-being of the mother and her unborn child. Despite considering the possibility of an early birth, the obstetrics team decided to move forward with the surgery, emphasizing the need to prevent abdominal pressure.

Consult our spine care hospital in Bangalore if you need treatment for pregnant spine pain. 

Meticulous Planning and Surgical Expertise

The spinal anaesthetic team carefully thought out every step of the process, choosing medications and monitoring schedules that were especially suitable for the expectant patient. Their expertise ensured the mother's and the child's stability during the procedure.

To perform the procedure, we placed the patient on an Allen radiolucent table, allowing her abdomen to hang loose and reducing the possibility of pressure. After confirming the fetal heart rate and inducing anaesthesia, we turned the patient prone to the tumour excision. The effective removal of the tumour in just one hour is remarkable.

After the procedure, we placed the patient back in the supine position and closely tracked and confirmed the fetus's health. Extubation went off without any complications, and the patient's limbs regained full mobility shortly thereafter. She became self-sufficient in walking within a few hours. 

This remarkable surgery case underscores the crucial role of early tumour detection and specialist care in managing rare and serious ailments during pregnancy. A collaborative strategy, careful planning, and cutting-edge surgical procedures facilitated a positive and desired outcome. The Manipal Comprehensive Spine Treatment Centre team at Manipal Hospital, Old Airport Road, Bangalore, provides exceptional medical care that prioritizes the health and welfare of both mother and child.


The duration of spinal tumour surgery varies significantly based on the tumour's complexity and location, ranging from one to several hours.

Spinal tumors are serious and can cause pain, neurological issues, and occasionally paralysis if not treated promptly. 

Yes, a customized approach can safely perform spinal surgery during pregnancy to minimize risks to the mother and the developing baby. 

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