How are spinal tumors staged?

Updated: Nov 01, 2018
  • Author: Andrew A Sama, MD; Chief Editor: Jeffrey A Goldstein, MD  more...
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Weinstein and McLain [10]  and Boriani et al [11]  developed a descriptive staging system for spine tumors based on the principles of the Enneking staging system for primary bone tumors of the extremities. In this staging system, the transverse extension of the vertebral tumor is described with reference to 12 radiating zones (numbered 1-12 in clockwise order) and five concentric layers (A to E) from the paravertebral extraosseous compartments to the dural involvement. The longitudinal extent of the tumor is recorded according to the levels involved.

Based on an understanding of the biologic behavior of the tumor, the oncologic staging aids the surgeon in deciding what surgical margin provides the best chance for complete tumor resection and possible cure. This system is complex and sometimes difficult to apply clinically.

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