Neurogenic tumors originate from cells that make up the nervous system. They are the most common tumors of the mediastinum (the region between the lungs). Neurogenic tumors are commonly found in the posterior mediastinum, also known as paravertebral, the back of the spine. In most adults, neurogenic tumors do not cause noticeable symptoms and are usually detected on routine chest X-rays or, incidentally, on an MRI or CT scan done for other reasons. While these tumors are typically benign in adults and can be followed with serial imaging, they may become larger in size, causing problems with the lungs, bones and spinal column. In these cases, the lesions can be treated successfully with surgery. The most common neurogenic tumors are benign schwannomas and neurofibromas.
The Lung Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) uses the most current diagnostic methods and proven treatments for patients with neurogenic tumors of the mediastinum, including minimally invasive surgical techniques aided by video technology. We are the surgical team for Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center (DF/BWCC), an exceptional collaboration between two world-class medical centers.
Most adults with neurogenic tumors of the mediastinum do not experience any symptoms. When symptoms do occur, however, they result from compression of the surrounding structures caused by the growing tumor. Symptoms include:
The Lung Center’s thoracic surgeons are experienced in the most modern, safe and minimally invasive biopsy techniques to identify neurogenic tumors. They will specifically provide the highest quality diagnostic material to establish a definitive diagnosis.
Your BWH thoracic surgeon may conduct the following tests and procedures to diagnose neurogenic tumors:
Options vary depending upon the size and location, but most often surgical removal is the recommended treatment for neurogenic tumors.
Although a traditional surgical approach is still needed for many complex thoracic cases, an increasing number of diagnostic and surgical procedures can now be approached through smaller incisions and by using less invasive techniques aided by video technology. These procedures have been found to be accurate, efficient, cost-effective, and safe through years of technological development and experience.
Non-Surgical Cancer Treatments
Surgery for malignant neurogenic mediastinal tumors are typically used in combination with other treatments, including:
When you become a patient of The Lung Center you will meet many members of the team who will carefully review your medical history and studies. You will receive a thorough diagnostic examination and receive clinically-proven treatment by a board-certified thoracic surgeon with expertise in neurogenic tumors. Sometimes these tumors can enter the spinal cord and a neurosurgeon will join the surgical team. Our goal is to alleviate or eliminate symptoms so patients can confidently resume everyday activities.
Neurogenic tumor patients benefit from the wide range of specialists at The Lung Center. Any surgery recommended will be performed by an experienced, board-certified surgeon, in collaboration with a treatment team including neuro-spine surgeons, oncologists, radiation oncologists, anesthesiologists, radiologists and pathologists, as well as nurses and physician assistants, all of whom specialize in taking care of patients with lymphoma.
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