Extrinsic spinal cord lesions have been classified via various methodologies. Most recently, spinal cord tumors have been divided anatomically into those that are intramedullary and those that are extramedullary. By definition, intramedullary lesions encompass all tumors that are situated within the parenchyma of the spinal cord. By far the most common of the intramedullary tumors are various types of gliomas. This article focuses on extramedullary lesions, which includes all tumors that lie outside the spinal cord proper. Unlike intramedullary tumors,extramedullary tumors are an extremely heterogenous group and can be divided into several subcategories for both pathologic and prognostic reasons.

As can be seen in the TableT1, intradural tumors range from histologically benign tumors, including congenital tumors, meningiomas, nerve sheath tumors, and vascular tumors, to malignant lesions. In this case, benign does not mean that the tumor cannot have significant detrimental effects, including death,but rather that it is localized...

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