Hadassah Doctors Uncover Rare Cause of Back Pain Masked by Pregnancy

Wednesday, Jun 24 2020

The doctors said Limor’s back pain was just an unfortunate part of her pregnancy.

And Limor, 30, was happy to be pregnant again. She’d already lost one pregnancy. But her pain wasn’t just an ache or jab; it was constant agony. From May to November, when she was in her 16th week, she consulted doctors 18 times.

She was told her back hurt because she was too fat.

She was told to consult a social worker or psychologist. Her problem was emotional.

There were no images. Because Limor was pregnant, she was told she couldn’t have any.

Finally, she came to Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem and was hospitalized in the Internal Medicine Department. “We suspected that something more serious was happening,” said Prof. Dror Mevorach, Internal Medicine Department head.

The MRI at Hadassah revealed that Limor had a solid tumor halfway down her back. It was pressing on her spinal cord at T5 and was attached to ribs on both sides.

There was some relatively good news. The histology pointed to a giant cell tumor, which, despite its fearsome name and aggressive reputation, is usually not cancerous. A rare condition, the tumor seems to grow very fast with the extra hormones of pregnancy and could paralyze her.

Dr. Josh Schroeder, an orthopedic surgeon with a specialty in spine surgery, was able to remove the tumor safely. The pain was gone and later a healthy baby was delivered.

Says Prof. Mevorach, “This woman’s suffering had been waved away by many medical professionals. She even tried reading self-help books when they suggested she had a psychological problem. The moral of the story? Listen to your patients and remember that just because a condition is rare, it doesn’t mean that it’s not what you’re seeing in the patient before you. That’s what we do at Hadassah.”

Learn more about the Hadassah Medical Organization.

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