Stent screw–assisted internal fixation (SAIF): clinical report of a novel approach to stabilizing and internally fixating vertebrae destroyed by malignancy

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OBJECTIVE

Severe lytic cancerous lesions of the spine are associated with significant morbidity and treatment challenges. Stabilization and restoration of the axial load capability of the vertebral body (VB) are important to prevent or arrest vertebral collapse. Percutaneous stent screw–assisted internal fixation (SAIF), which anchors a VB stent/cement complex with pedicular screws to the posterior vertebral elements, is a minimally invasive, image-guided, 360° internal fixation technique that can be utilized in this patient cohort. The purpose of this study was to assess the feasibility, safety, and stabilization efficacy of VB reconstruction via the SAIF technique in a cohort of patients with extensive lytic vertebral lesions, who were considered to have an unstable or potentially unstable spine according to the Spinal Instability Neoplastic Score (SINS).

METHODS

This study was a retrospective assessment of a prospectively maintained database of a consecutive series of patients with neoplastic extensive extracompartmental osteolysis (Tomita type 4–6) of the VB treated with the SAIF technique. VB reconstruction was assessed on postprocedure plain radiographs and CT by two independent raters. Technical and clinical complications were recorded. Clinical and imaging follow-ups were assessed.

RESULTS

Thirty-five patients with extensive osteolytic metastatic lesions of the VB underwent 36 SAIF procedures. SAIF was performed as a stand-alone procedure in 31/36 cases and was associated with posterior surgical fixation in 5/36 (4/5 with decompressive laminectomy). In 1 case an epidural cement leak required surgical decompression. VB reconstruction was categorized as satisfactory (excellent or good rating) by the two raters in 34/36 cases (94.5%) with an interrater reliability of 94.4% (Cohen’s kappa of 0.8). Follow-up, ranging from 1 to 30 months, was available for 30/36 levels. Long-term follow-up (6–30 months, mean 11.5 months) was available for 16/36 levels. Stability during follow-up was noted in 29/30 cases.

CONCLUSIONS

SAIF provides 360° nonfusion internal fixation that stabilizes the VB in patients with extensive lytic lesions that would otherwise be challenging to treat.

ABBREVIATIONS EO = extreme osteolysis; ESCC = epidural spinal cord compression; PMMA = polymethyl methacrylate; SAIF = stent screw–assisted internal fixation; SINS = Spinal Instability Neoplastic Score; VA = vertebral augmentation; VB = vertebral body; VBS = VB stent.
Article Information

Contributor Notes

Correspondence Daniela Distefano: Neurocenter of Southern Switzerland, Ospedale Regionale di Lugano, Lugano, Switzerland. daniela.distefano@eoc.ch.INCLUDE WHEN CITING Published online December 20, 2019; DOI: 10.3171/2019.9.SPINE19711.Disclosures Dr. Hirsch is a consultant for Medtronic, Relievent, and Cerenovus and holds positions with Data and Safety Monitoring Board and Data Monitoring Committee.
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