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VI. Tumors of the Spinal Cord: arise from all cellular elements, uncommon.

Tumors of the spinal cord are much less common than those above the foramen magnum.  The types of tumors which occur above and below the foramen magnum are different because of the geometry of the various elements.  Note that in the cerebral hemispheres, gliomas are the most common primary intramedullary tumor type, while in the spinal cord, ependymomas are the most common primary intramedullary tumor type.

Ependymomas (most common); gliomas

A. Location:

1. Intramedullary (within the spinal cord): ependymomas (most common)

2. Extramedullary

a. Intradural: neurofibroma, meningioma

b. Extradural: metastatic carcinoma, lymphoma, neuroblastoma

B. Mode of Action: Compression, invasion or replacement of spinal cord, nerve roots and/or vascular supply