With the advent of magnetic resonance image (MRI), direct visualization of the spinal cord tumors and their relationship to the surrounding structures becomes possible. A clinical analysis was done retrospectively in forty patients suffering from primary spinal tumors and were treated surgically from November 1991 to November 1995. There were 19 male and 21 female patients, peak incidence occurs in the sixth decade of life. The tumor with the highest incidence was neurogenic tumor (42.5%), followed by glial tumor and meningioma. The most frequent symptom was pain. On radiological evaluation, simple plain X-ray showed abnormality in 37.5% of cases, in which the most common positive finding was pedicle erosion (20%). CT was performed in 38 cases and MRI in 31. The MRI reveals not only morphologic abnormalities but also diversities in signal intensity. These findings helped us to establish pathologic diagnosis and operative planning. Surgery was performed via anterior(5%) and posterior(95%) approaches. Total removal was possible in 70% of the cases and subtotal removal in 30%. Evaluation of the patient's symptom and neurologic deficit was done one month after operation, it was found that about 80% of the patients recovered or have their conditions improved. Complications were developed in 3 cases.