The surgical approach for a spinal tumor depends on the location and size of the tumor. Tumors within the spinal canal may be exposed by a posterior incision similar to the incision used for a lumbar microdiscectomy (small tumor) or a lumbar laminectomy for stenosis (larger tumor).
Tumors within the vertebral body or anterior position of the vertebra must often be exposed by an anterior approach through the abdomen, chest, or neck, depending on the location of the tumor.
In some cases, endoscopic techniques can be used for abdominal and chest approaches, reducing the size of the incision. A fusion may also be performed during the operation, if removal of the tumor and associated bone produces spinal instability.