If you've been suffering from lumbar pain for some time and have recently been diagnosed with tumors of your thecal sac, you may be wondering about your treatment options. While these tumors are relatively uncommon, they have the potential to compress your spinal cord and lead to pain, weakness or even temporary paralysis in your arms or legs. What are your treatment options? Read on to learn more about these tumors, as well as the best ways to eliminate them without compromising your health.
What are thecal sac tumors?
Your thecal sac is the long, slender membrane that contains your spinal cord and many of the other delicate nerve tissues that make up your nervous system. In some cases, the thecal sac may be invaded or compressed by a slipped disc or other spinal injury that forces a piece of bone or cartilage into the sac. In other cases, benign or malignant tumors may form inside the thecal sac, compressing the spinal cord and leading to pain and weakness. If these tumors aren't removed and continue to grow, you could find yourself eventually facing paralysis as the tumors cut off signals from your brain to your lower spinal cord.
What are your treatment options to reduce the pain and limited range of motion that can be caused by these tumors?
While malignant thecal sac tumors caused by cancer or other serious illnesses can sometimes be reduced in size (or even eliminated) through chemotherapy or radiation, benign tumors are generally removed through spinal surgery. Although an orthopedic surgeon should be able to perform this procedure with minimal complications, those dealing with multiple or large tumors may want to enlist the services of a neurologist to ensure that the removal of these tumors doesn't cause any more damage to your spinal cord.
Thecal sac surgery is performed under general anesthesia, and it may require you to spend the night in the hospital after your surgery for observation. However, this surgery requires only a small incision in your spine and should allow you to recover at home in relative comfort. You'll be able to take anti-inflammatory drugs (like ibuprofen or naproxen sodium) to help reduce inflammation and pain from the surgical site during your recovery period. After your surgeon gives you the green light, you'll be able to engage in normal activities and even contact sports without fear of causing permanent spinal damage.