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Spinal Schwannomas

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Surgery for Spinal Schwannomas

There are a number of surgical techniques, which may be used alone or in combination, for the treatment of schwannomas. Some schwannomas will require just one of these therapies and others will require a combination. Treatments include:

Microsurgery: This is a minimal access surgery requiring the use of ultrasound guidance and lasers. It is the surgical option used by neurosurgeons for schwannoma removal.

Stereotactic Radiosurgery: Without entering the back, neurological surgeons can use stereotactic radiosurgery (highly targeted radiation beams from multiple angles) to treat a schwannoma. This technique is highly effective and minimally invasive. Side effects are usually moderate and limited and the procedure carries a very low risk of infection or other complications that can occur after open surgery.  This is a rapidly developing technique, requiring the most highly trained surgeons utilizing the most sophisticated equipment — such as the Gamma Knife, CyberKnife, proton beams, and linear accelerators — and is usually only available in major medical centers. (see Doctors Who Treat Spinal Schwannomas.)

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Reviewed by: Eric Elowitz, MD
Last reviewed/last updated: September 2020