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Recently Diagnosed with cervical Schwannoma tumor at C3-C4

My husband was recently diagnosed with a Schwannoma tumor at C3-C4. It is causing nerve damage and severe pain in his neck that radiates down his shoulder. His neurologist has presented two options for surgical removal. The first would be posterior surgery to remove the tumor and fuse his neck from C2 through C5. The surgeon says this is the easiest way to get the tumor out. The second option is anterior fusion at C3-C4, then a period of 3-4 months of healing, followed by a second posterior surgery to remove the tumor (without any posterior fusion). Does anyone have any insight on the better course of action? We are thinking the loss of range of motion with posterior fusion of C2-5 would be worse than enduring two surgeries.

He also has an appointment to see if he is a candidate for radiation instead of surgery. We are just exploring options right now and looking for guidance as we make this decision.

Thanks in advance!
Cervical Schwannoma at C3-C4


  • Welcome to Spine Health but sorry you have to be here. I am not familiar with cervical surgeries as I have only had thoracic and lumbar surgeries. I did have a schwannoma of the tonsil..only one of 4 in world... wow lucky me :) The only good thing with having on tonsil was all they had to do was remove my tonsils. They talked about radiation but I just had MRI on neck area to see if any is left and there was none so after 2 yrs. they feel like it is gone. I hope the doctors are able to do surgery with least amount of invasion. Please keep in touch and let us know what they decide.

  • Thank you for your reply. Wow - on your tonsil?! That is crazy. We have an appointment next week to determine if my husband is a candidate for radiation treatment. He would like to avoid the surgical treatment options if at all possible.
    Cervical Schwannoma at C3-C4
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  • Hi Tonia, Nice to "meet" you. I'm not familiar with what you are going thru but wish you well. This forum has really helped me during the past couple of years.

    Good luck!
    ALIF L3-5 Aug '11, butress plates added pos. Feb '12, 2013 revision decompresive laminectomy L3-SI, removal of hardware, exploration, allograft, instrumentation and possible bone morphogenic protein (BMP) 3rd times the charm!
  • hope2911hhope2911 Posts: 1
    edited 03/18/2013 - 7:49 PM
    Hi TRCJ80,

    I am very sorry for your husbands diagnosis but don't get down just yet. I am 38 years old and I had the same thing about a year and a half ago. I had a Schwannoma tumor at C3-C5. My doctor said it was the largest he had ever seen in this region. I was very worried about the recovery and what my permanent condition would be after but I am doing well.

    I had a surgery call a hemilaminectomy which is the surgical removal of a portion of a vertebral lamina. I was put face down and then they removed part of the vertebra on the left side and the tumor was removed that way. They did not have to do any fusion. They did cut one nerve that the tumor was growing from but they said it was not functioning. My tumor had not grown through the spinal fluid and connected to the actual spinal cord so I was very lucky.

    I don't know all the extent of your husbands tumor but I got up and walked the next day. Now it did take several weeks before I could turn, bend over and had a hard time holding my head up for long periods of time but that will get better.
    The hardest part of this thing is recovery. Holding your head up is a big deal when they cute your neck muscles but he can do it.

    I hope I am not to late and if you have had the surgery already but wait if you can. I don't know where you are but EDIT.

    I wish you all the best and if you have any questions please reply or send me a private message.

    I really did have this surgery and I was told all kinds of stuff but I found Dr. xyz by a miracle and with God's Grace I am doing fine. I can even send you a picture of my scar. Tell your husband, A SCAR MEANS WE SURVIVED! Wear it proudly!

    God Bless,

    Post edited. Forum rules prohibit the naming of specific doctors
  • Hi there, I recently got diagnosed with a c3c4 schwannoma that has encased my ipsilateral vertebral artery. I have experienced occipital head and neck pain and shoulder and back pain at times it feels like my ribs have been battered and bruised. Just wondering if anyone else has experienced this?
    Take Care,
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  • Hey...  I was wondering how long of a recovery did you have. I have a schwannoma on my c4 and c5 its 4.2x7.1x3.4 . I got to see a surgeon the 10.. Just curious on how long one wpuld be out for a surgery like this? How bad is the recovery.. The pain that Im in now is horrible just hopi g the healing  process isnt as bad as the pain Ive been in.
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