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  • Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine x
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Chronic renal failure causing brown tumors and myelopathy

Case report and review of pathophysiology and treatment

Igor Fineman, J. Patrick Johnson, Pier-Luigi Di-Patre and Harvinder Sandhu

✓ Brown tumors (osteoclastomas) are histologically benign lesions that are caused by primary or secondary hyperparathyroidism. Secondary hyperparathyroidism is a frequent complication of chronic renal failure. Skeletal brown tumors are relatively uncommon, and brown tumors that involve the spine are considered very rare. The authors present the case of a 37-year-old woman with systemic lupus erythematosus and hemodialysis-dependent anuric renal failure, in whom spinal cord compression developed due to a brown tumor and pathological fracture at T-9. The patient underwent transthoracic decompressive surgery and spinal reconstruction in which cadaveric femoral allograft and instrumentation were used. Brown tumors of the vertebral column require surgical treatment if medical therapy and parathyroidectomy fail to halt their progression or if acute neurological deterioration occurs. In patients with renal failure bone healing is delayed and there is an increased risk that healing will fail because the metabolic derangements can result in severe osteoporosis. Surgical reconstruction of the spine may require the use of augmentation with instrumentation and aggressive treatment of hyperparathyroidism to achieve successful outcomes.