What is Haemangioblastoma of the Spinal Cord?Haemangioblastoma of the spinal cord is a rare type of benign tumour that arises from the lining of the blood vessels supplying blood to the spinal cord and is usually present on the surface of the spinal cord. Haemangioblastoma can also arise from the brain and retina of the eye. In 50% of cases, it affects the thoracic (chest region of the back) vertebrae of the spinal cord and in 40% of cases, haemangioblastoma of the spinal cord originates from the cervical vertebrae (neck region of the spinal cord).
Disease CausesIn 20-30% of haemangioblastoma of the spinal cord is caused by a genetic disease called Von-Hippel-Lindau disease. Von-Hippel Lindau disease is a rare disease and affects 1 in 36000 people. It usually affects children. It is equally common in both males and females.
Signs and SymptomsSigns and symptoms may vary based on the site, size, and extent of the tumour. The patient may suffer from the following signs and symptoms. These are
- If the tumour develops in the neck region of the spinal cord the patient may suffer from pain in the neck, burning and prickling sensation in the neck, weakness, and wasting of the neck muscles.
- Skin’s abdominal senses (impulses) won’t function if a tumour grows in the vertebrae that make up the thoracic (chest) region of the spinal cord.
- If the tumour develops in the lower region of the spinal cord the patient may suffer from pain in the back, and legs.
DiagnosisThe following diagnostic tests and procedures can be used to make a diagnosis. These are;
- Imaging techniques like Chest X-ray, CT-scan, MRI, and PET scan to see the site, size, and extent of the tumour.
- Tumour biopsy (tumour biopsy to remove a small sample of tissue for histopathological examination)
- USG-guided fine needle aspiration cytology