The performance of surgery for spinal metastases is rapidly increasing. Different surgical procedures, ranging from stabilization alone to stabilization combined with corpectomy, are thereby performed for various indications. Little is known about the impact of these different procedures on patient quality of life (QOL), but this factor is crucial when discussing the various therapeutic options with patients and their families. Thus, the authors of this study investigated the effect of various surgical procedures for spinal metastases on patient QOL.
The authors prospectively followed a cohort of 113 patients with spinal metastases who were referred to their clinic for surgical evaluation between July 2012 and July 2014. Quality of life was assessed using the EQ-5D at intake and at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months after treatment.
Nineteen patients were treated conservatively, 41 underwent decompressive surgery with or without stabilization, 47 underwent a piecemeal corpectomy procedure with stabilization and expandable cage reconstruction, and 6 had a stabilization procedure without decompression. Among all surgical patients, the mean EQ-5D score was significantly increased from 0.44 pretreatment to 0.59 at 3 months after treatment (p < 0.001). Mean EQ-5D scores at 1 year after surgery further increased to 0.84 following decompression with stabilization, 0.74 after corpectomy with stabilization, and 0.94 after stabilization without decompression. Frankel scores also improved after surgery. There were no significant differences in improvements in EQ-5D scores and Frankel grades among the different surgical procedures. In addition, mortality and complication rates were similar.
Quality of life can improve significantly after various extensive and less extensive surgical procedures in patients with spinal metastases. The relatively invasive corpectomy procedure, as compared with alternative less invasive techniques, does not negatively affect outcome.