At the Penn Spine Center, experience and an accurate diagnosis is the key to successfully treating spinal tumors. Our fully integrated spinal tumor program brings together world-renowned surgeons and specialists who follow data closely and carefully assess and review patient cases that result in a precise diagnosis.
The Penn Spine Center offers the latest, advanced diagnostic tests and tools to diagnose every type of spinal tumor. These diagnostic tests and tools include:
- X-ray: A painless procedure where X-ray beams are used to create detailed imaging of bones and hard structures of the spinal column.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): A magnetic field and radio waves are used to create a detailed image of the bone and soft tissue of the spine.
- CT scan (CAT scan): This special X-ray takes detailed images of the spine.
- PET scan: An imaging test that uses a small amount of radioactive tracer to assess glucose metabolism or other body functions active in a tumor to help identify sites of cancer throughout the body.
- Bone scan: An imaging procedure that identifies bone abnormalities such as fractures or tumors throughout the entire skeleton.
- Biopsy: A procedure where a sample of tissue is taken and examined more closely. A biopsy is required to accurately diagnose your particular tumor.
- Lumbar puncture: Also called a spinal tap, this is a procedure to collect and examine the fluid surrounding the spinal cord. The fluid is examined for color, blood count, protein, glucose and other substances.
- Blood tests: Generally used to confirm a suspected diagnosis, especially with tumors that have markers that can be detected in the blood such as prostate cancer or myeloma. Blood tests are helpful after a review of medical history and physical examination are performed and a suspected diagnosis is made.