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  • Author or Editor: Gary L. Gallia x
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Daryl R. Fourney, Laurence D. Rhines, Stephen J. Hentschel, John M. Skibber, Jean-Paul Wolinsky, Kristin L. Weber, Dima Suki, Gary L. Gallia, Ira Garonzik and Ziya L. Gokaslan


En bloc resection with adequate margins is associated with the highest probability of long-term tumor control or cure in most cases of primary sacral malignancies. The authors present their experience with a systematic approach to these lesions. They provide a novel classification of surgical techniques based on the level of nerve root sacrifice and evaluate the functional and oncological outcomes.


Seventy-eight consecutive patients underwent 94 resections of sacral neoplasms at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston between August 1993 and June 2002. The records of 29 consecutive patients who underwent en bloc resection of primary sacral tumors were retrospectively reviewed. The median follow-up period was 55 months (range 1–103 months). Chordoma was the most frequent tumor type (16 cases). Midline sacral amputation was performed in 25 patients (eight low, four middle, seven high, and five total sacrectomies; one hemicorporectomy). Lateral sacrectomy was undertaken in four patients (two unilateral excisions of the sacroiliac joint and two hemisacrectomies). The surgical margins were wide in 19 cases, marginal in nine, and contaminated in one. The type of sacrectomy correlated with characteristic outcomes with respect to bladder, bowel, and ambulatory functions. Duration of hospital stay was related to the extent of sacrectomy (p = 0.003, Wilcoxon signed-rank test). The median Kaplan—Meier disease-free survival for patients with chordoma was 68 months (95% confidence interval 46–90 months).


Classification of en bloc sacral resection techniques by the level of nerve root transection is useful in predicting postoperative function and the potential for morbidity. Adequate surgical margins should not be compromised to preserve function when they are necessary to affect tumor control.

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Ajay Mantha, Federico G. Legnani, Carlos A. Bagley, Gary L. Gallia, Ira Garonzik, Gustavo Pradilla, Eric Amundson, Betty M. Tyler, Henry Brem and Ziya L. Gokaslan

Object. Although metastatic spinal disease constitutes a significant percentage of all spinal column tumors, an accessible and reproducible animal model has not been reported. In this study the authors describe the technique for creating an intraosseous spinal tumor model in rats and present a functional and histological analysis.

Methods. Eighteen female Fischer 344 rats were randomized into two groups. Group 1 animals underwent a transabdominal exposure and implantation of CRL-1666 breast adenocarcinoma into the L-6 vertebral body (VB). Animals in Group 2 underwent a sham operation. Hindlimb function was tested daily by using the Basso-Beattie-Bresnahan scale. Sixteen days after tumor implantation, animals were killed and their spines were removed for histological assessment. Statistical analysis was performed using the Wilcoxon signed-rank test.

By Day 15 functional analysis showed a significant decrease in motor function in Group 1 animals (median functional score 2 of 21) compared with Group 2 rats (median functional score 21 of 21) (p = 0.0217). The onset of paraparesis in Group 1 occurred within 14 to 16 days of surgery. Histopathological analysis showed tumor proliferation through the VB and into the spinal canal, with marked osteolytic activity and spinal cord compression.

Conclusions. Analysis of these findings demonstrates the consistency of tumor growth in this model and validates the utility of functional testing for onset of paresis. This new rat model allows for the preclinical evaluation of novel therapeutic treatments for patients harboring metastatic spine disease.

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Gary L. Gallia, Raqeeb Haque, Ira Garonzik, Timothy F. Witham, Yevgeniy A. Khavkin, Jean Paul Wolinsky, Ian Suk and Ziya L. Gokaslan

✓ Although radical resection prolongs the disease-free survival period, surgical management of primary sacral tumors is challenging because of their location and often large size. Moreover, in cases of lesions for which a radical resection necessitates total sacrectomy, reconstruction is required. The authors have previously described a modified Galveston technique in which a liaison between the spine and pelvis is achieved using lumbar pedicle screws and Galveston rods embedded into the ilia; additionally, a transiliac bar reestablishes the pelvic ring. Although this reconstruction technique achieves stabilization, several biomechanical limitations exist. In the present report the authors present the case of a patient who underwent spinal pelvic reconstruction after a total sacrectomy was performed to remove a giant sacral chordoma. They describe a novel spinal pelvic reconstruction technique that addresses some of the biomechanical limitations.