Surgical management of metastatic spinal neoplasms

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In this study the authors retrospectively review outcomes in patients treated for metastases to the spine. Surgery for metastatic tumors to the spine remains an important part of the treatment armamentarium. Maximum tumor resection with a minimum number of complications is one of the goals of surgery. Current surgical procedures include tumor resection and spinal stabilization for optimal results.


The records of 96 patients who underwent surgery for a metastatic spine tumor at the authors' institution were reviewed. Spinal instrumentation was used in the majority of patients. Ambulatory status was maintained in 91% and pain improved in 94% of patients. Complications included infection (5.2%), cerebrospinal fluid leak (2%), and delayed hardware failure (3.1%). The mortality rate was 4.1%; the main cause was due to tumor progression.


Surgery is indicated in a select group of patients with metastatic tumors to the spine. A multidisciplinary approach is recommended for patient selection and complication avoidance. Surgical options, including approach, type of reconstruction and extent of resection (including en bloc spondylectomy) need to be addressed for optimal outcomes.

Abbreviations used in this paper:CSF = cerebrospinal fluid; MMA = methylmethacrylate; MR = magnetic resonance; VB = vertebral body.

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