Spinal Cord Neoplasms Follow-up
- Author: J Stephen Huff, MD, FACEP; Chief Editor: Barry E Brenner, MD, PhD, FACEP more...
Further Outpatient Care
At the direction of the attending physicians, outpatient care may include ongoing chemotherapy, steroid administration, radiation therapy, or other treatments.
Physical therapy may be necessary.
Hospice referral may be indicated in some cases. A scoring system has been developed to identify patients with metastatic spinal cord compression who may be candidates for best supportive care.
Further Inpatient Care
Further inpatient care may include steroid administration, chemotherapy, or surgery ordered at the discretion of attending physicians.
Surgical decompression provides immediate relief of compression but may contribute to spinal mechanical instability. However, if instability is present from tumor destruction, surgery may be necessary for stabilization.
Recent research suggests that a combination of surgical decompression and radiation may be more effective than radiotherapy alone. This is an area of active investigation.
Treatment is individualized and depends on tumor type, degree of neurologic function, and other factors.
Transfer may be necessary when specialized services are not accessible at the initial site of evaluation.
Consider administering steroids prior to transfer in cases of suspected spinal cord impairment caused by tumor.
Potential complications of spinal cord neoplasms include the following:
- Urinary tract infections
- Soft-tissue damage
- Respiratory complications
The prognosis for recovery of neurologic deficits secondary to spinal cord compression is related to the duration and severity of the impairment at the start of treatment.
Disturbances in sphincter function are associated with a poor prognosis for recovery.
Primary CNS spinal cord neoplasms are usually not metastatic and generally have a more favorable prognosis for long-term survival than do metastases.
Patients with leptomeningeal metastases have a poor prognosis.
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