Hemangioblastoma is a benign (non-cancerous) tumor. It often develops in the tissue at the back of your eye, your brain, or your spinal cord from cells that line blood vessels. Hemangioblastomas can enlarge and push on nearby tissues, leading to discomfort and Pain.

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3 percent of individuals with progressive curvature may eventually experience severe problems that can include scoliosis and back pain, spinal problems, and nerve compression causing numbness, weakness, and leg pain.


Hemangioblastoma is a benign (non-cancerous) tumor. It often develops in the tissue at the back of your eye, your brain, or your spinal cord from cells that line blood vessels. Hemangioblastomas can enlarge and push on nearby tissues, leading to discomfort and pain. Our medical team will monitor any hemangioblastomas you have and may decide to suggest spinal surgery to eliminate those on the spinal cord. Hemangioblastomas of the spinal cord often develop on its surface. They make up about 5–10% of tumors that develop on or in the spinal cord, or intramedullary tumors. In addition, hemangiomas, or blood vessel tumors, include hemangioblastomas as one of their subtypes.

Symptoms of Hemangioblastoma

Depending on where the tumor develops, the symptoms of hemangioblastoma might vary somewhat. For example, small, asymptomatic hemangioblastomas may not require treatment because of their benign growth pattern and moderate rate of growth. Furthermore, these are frequently discovered by chance and are easily monitored with yearly imaging exams. As they push on the spinal cord, bigger hemangioblastomas might result in the following symptoms.

  • Bowel and bladder dysfunction
  • numbness or pins and needles in the arms or legs
  • clumsiness in the hands; weakness in the arms or legs
  • trouble walking
  • and/or weakness in the hands

Questions and Answers

How are Spinal Hemangioblastomas Diagnosed and Treated
  1. Diagnosing and treating spinal hemangioblastomas typically involves the following:
  • Diagnosis: The diagnostic process may include a thorough medical history review, physical examination, and imaging tests such as MRI or CT scans. These imaging studies can help visualize the tumor and determine its location, size, and relationship to surrounding structures.
  • Biopsy: In some cases, a biopsy may be performed to obtain a tissue sample for further analysis to confirm the diagnosis and determine the tumor’s nature.
  • Treatment: The primary treatment for spinal hemangioblastomas is surgical removal of the tumor. The goal of surgery is to achieve complete resection while preserving neurological function. In some cases, radiation therapy may be used in addition to or instead of surgery, particularly if the tumor is in a difficult-to-access location or if complete removal is not feasible.

It’s important to note that the management of spi

The location and size of the tumor will affect the specific symptoms. However, the following conditions might exist if you have a spinal cord hemangioblastoma:

  • Constipation or fecal (bowel) incontinence.
  • Urinary retention or incontinence.
  • Numbness or tingling sensation.
  • Muscle weakness.
  • Headache
  • Loss of coordination
  • Imbalance
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Hemangioblastoma Causes 

Hemangioblastomas typically develop for unknown reasons. They are therefore impossible to forecast. Moreover, hemangioblastomas that recur might indicate a hereditary disorder like von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease. VHL is the root cause of 20% to 25% of hemangioblastoma instances. Hemangioblastomas often only have one tumor, but patients with VHL may experience several. The VHL gene becomes mutated as a result of VHL. This causes benign tumors to spread to several locations throughout the body. VHL has neither a treatment nor a preventative measure. Surgery to remove tumors is the main course of treatment.

How is Hemangioblastoma Diagnosed?

Your doctor at Southwest Scoliosis and Spine Institute will interview you to learn your symptoms and medical background. Then your doctor will want to obtain imaging scans to identify any potential anomalies:

  • The two imaging procedures that are most often employed are MRIs and CT scans. These non-invasive, painless examinations offer precise pictures of tumors and any swelling tissue nearby. Also, your doctor may use ultrasound, another noninvasive screening technique, to find a tumor.
  • If an MRI or CT Scan fails to produce a diagnosis, a more comprehensive imaging test called a spinal angiography will take place.
  • A catheter is placed during this test and advanced up to a vertebral artery through a blood vessel in the thigh. The catheter gently injects a particular dye into the artery that supplies blood to the Tumor. The dye makes it simpler to see the tumor and its size and form on an X-ray.
  • It can take many dye injections to find the proper artery. However, your doctor can use angiography to assess how the tumor is influencing blood flow after the proper artery has been located.

The particular location and higher blood supply of hemangioblastomas set them apart from other frequently occurring tumors.

How is a Hemangioblastoma Treated?

Microsurgery, or removal with a surgical microscope and extremely fine operating instruments, is the therapeutic option for symptomatic spinal cord hemangioblastomas. Standard microsurgical procedures may generally remove most tumors while maintaining neurological functions. If the surgeon cannot remove the entire tumor, radiation may be the solution. There are two methods for treating hemangioblastomas. Both procedures include removing or eliminating the tumors. The removal of a hemangioblastoma is frequently advised by healthcare teams in our country. Depending on the circumstances, our team will use the following treatments.


To totally eliminate the tumor, surgery is frequently employed. The term “resection” refers to this kind of surgery, which involves the removal of tissue from an organ. Removal of the tumor will stop any and all symptoms.  You can still feel symptoms if a portion of the tumor is still there since it might develop again. If hemangioblastoma is present together with VHL disease, resection surgery might not provide the complete solution.

Stereotactic radiosurgery 

The use of stereotactic radiosurgery can replace surgical resection. It is a non-invasive therapy that targets the tumor with extremely concentrated radiation beams. The tumor may not totally disappear for several months despite the fact that the surgery only requires one session. There isn’t a chance of bleeding or other consequences, unlike surgical resection. This implies that as soon as the treatment is over, you should get back to your regular activities. If the hemangioblastoma is situated in a region of the spinal cord where typical surgical methods would be risky to use, radiosurgery may produce the desired results.


This procedure employs precisely timed radiation beams to either reduce or eliminate the tumor. The tumor’s location and your medical history determine how long the radiation will last.


Drugs that can halt or reduce cancers are the subject of promising research.

Risk Factors

Hemangioblastoma cells develop into blood vessels at an early stage. They are most typical in the early and middle years of life and affect men and women equally. Patients often only have one hemangioblastoma. We refer to these as occasional instances. However, numerous hemangioblastomas and cysts are more likely to form in various areas of the body, including the kidneys and other organs, in people with the hereditary genetic disorder von Hippel-Lindau Disease.


Long-term problems are rare following effective hemangioblastoma treatment. Upon successfully removing or eliminating the tumor, your symptoms should go away. However, long-term issues can arise if a hemangioblastoma has developed and injured nerves. You should discuss this with your Southwest Scoliosis and Spine Institute doctor to determine what it could signify for you and what you can do to lessen its effect on your quality of life. It’s crucial to get routine examinations after hemangioblastoma treatment. Your doctor can keep an eye out for the growth of fresh tumors or the return of a tumor that wasn’t entirely removed or eradicated. Talk to your doctor as soon as you start experiencing any strange symptoms. Your doctor at Southwest Scoliosis and Spine Institute can identify the root issue and suggest a strategy to provide a remedy.

Southwest Scoliosis and Spine Institute Specializes in Performing Complex Spine Surgery

If you think you or a loved one might need surgery to correct a complex spine surgery, it’s important to contact a surgeon who is skilled in performing these kinds of complicated and specialized procedures — especially a spinal hemangioblastoma.

Southwest Scoliosis and Spine Institute’s board-certified, fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons,  Richard Hostin, MDDevesh Ramnath, MDIshaq Syed, MDShyam Kishan, MD, and Kathryn Wiesman, MD, have the expertise and surgical skills necessary to diagnose and treat these cases.

In fact, they’ve performed more than 16,000 successful spine surgeries and helped more than 100,000 patients get back to living a normal, pain-free life. So, if you have been told that there is no hope, call the Southwest Scoliosis and Spine Institute with offices in  DallasPlano, and FriscoTexas for an evaluation.


Radiopaedia: Spinal Hemangioblastoma



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