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Spinal cord conditions must be assessed with the utmost care and the right investigations made at the right time.

Spinal tumour

A spinal tumour is a growth that develops within your spinal canal or within the bones of your spine.

A spinal cord tumour, or intradural tumour, begins within the spinal cord or its covering. Spinal cord tumours make up about 20% of all spinal tumours.

A tumour that affects the bones of the spine (the vertebrae) is known as a vertebral tumour.

Tumours from other parts of the body can spread (metastasise) to the vertebrae, the supporting network around the spinal cord or, in rare cases, the spinal cord itself.

Spinal tumours can cause neurological problems and sometimes paralysis. A spinal tumour can be life-threatening and cause permanent disability.

Treatment for a spinal tumour may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy or other medications.

Spinal Infection

There are a number of serious and potentially life-threatening types of spinal infection.

Vertebral osteomyelitis:

These infections most often occur in the lumbar spine and can cause pain in the arm or leg, fever, weight loss, muscle spasms and problems with walking or using your hands.


This can occur on its own or after surgery. Symptoms include radiating pain and fevers.

Spinal epidural abscess:

Most commonly found in the lumbar region, these infections can cause weakness, skin boils, back pain, arm or leg pain, spine tenderness, and bowel, bladder and abdominal issues.

Spinal subdural empyema:

This infection is very rare and usually stems from an infection in another area. It can cause a fever and arm or leg pain.


Causing swelling in the tissues around the brain and spine, this infection can spread rapidly and can cause severe complications, if not treated properly.

Spinal cord abscess:

This infection can cause fever, back pain and a decline in spinal function.

Mistakes / delays

These can include:

  • Failure to investigate for malignancy
  • Failure to commission an MRI scan at the right time
  • Failure to scan the right area (spinal abscesses for example are commonly found in the thoracic spine)
  • Failure to explain the risks or properly discuss the treatment options
  • Unnecessary delays in investigation, referral and reporting

How we can help

Because missed opportunities will inevitably have meant prolonged suffering and more serious and complex outcomes, even death, these cases often involve severe financial consequences, increased care and rehabilitation needs.

Our team of specialist spinal clinical negligence lawyers are here to help if you or your loved ones have suffered in this way.

We can help you get the answers you need if you think that something might have gone wrong.

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