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Article
February 9, 1957

NEED FOR CONSIDERATION OF INTRASPINAL TUMORS AS A CAUSE OF PAIN AND DISABILITY

JAMA. 1957;163(6):436-441. doi:10.1001/jama.1957.02970410026008
Abstract

• The histories of a series of patients in whom intraspinal tumors were found at operation have been reviewed. The antecedent signs and symptoms were varied; they often led to mistaken diagnoses ranging from syphilis to cholecystitis and were treated by many different medical and surgical methods. Exact diagnosis is essential. The intraspinal tumor sometimes coexists with organic disease elsewhere in the body; occasionally it is a metastasis from a tumor of the breast or prostate. The character of the pain is informative, since it persists in one area, extends over the same nerve roots, is usually lancinating in quality, is aggravated by straining, and awakens the patient at night. Special diagnostic procedures may be necessary in order to distinguish between intraspinal tumor and herniated intervertebral disk. Since the pain is generally persistent and severe and since the majority of these tumors are benign and operable, surgical removal is indicated; it is attended with a mortality rate of less than 4%.

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