It extends from the spinal cord or spinal cord-neck region to the coccyx. Symptoms of spinal cord diseases that require surgery vary depending on the spinal cord segment where they appear, and their locations. For example, spinal cord involvement in the neck region causes weakness and numbness both in the arms and legs; whereas the spinal cord involvement in the dorsal and lumbar regions may lead to weakness and numbness in legs but does not affect the arms.
In adults, the spinal cord usually ends between the first and second lumbar vertebrae. After this area, the spinal cord is called the cauda equina. The nerves that leave the spinal cord in the cauda equina advance towards the legs, and each of them ends in another muscular tissue.
Spinal cord surgery is applied in the cases of spinal cord tumors (myeloma), infections (abscesses), cysts (syringomyelia), vascular anomalies (AVM, cavernoma, AV fistulae), and conditions that leads to tense spinal cord syndromes (Split cord syndrome, thick filum terminale, intraspinal lipoma, dermal sinus tract).
Spinal cord surgery is routinely performed by means of an operation microscope, using microsurgery techniques. In recent years, intraoperative neuromonitorisation has been widely used to prevent damage to normal tissues during spinal cord surgery.