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AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2001 May;22(5):997-1003.

Spinal metastases from renal cell carcinoma: effect of preoperative particle embolization on intraoperative blood loss.

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Department of Diagnostic Radiology, University of Regensburg, Franz-Josef-Strauss-Allee 11, D-93042 Regensburg, Germany.



Surgical repair of spinal metastases from renal origin is often complicated by excessive bleeding. The purpose of this study was to assess the effect of preoperative particulate embolization on intraoperative blood loss.


Twenty spinal metastases from renal origin (17 patients) treated by preoperative embolization with polyvinyl alcohol particles were analyzed retrospectively. Surgical decompression was performed within 2 days after embolization. A control group of 10 patients with 11 spinal metastases of renal origin underwent surgery without embolization. The effect of preoperative embolization, of completeness of embolization, and of particle size on the estimated intraoperative blood loss was analyzed using nonparametric statistical tests.


Complete embolization was achieved in 10 cases and partial embolization in the other 10. The estimated blood loss of 19 embolized and 11 control cases was available from the surgical report. Median intraoperative blood loss in 19 embolized lesions was 1500 mL (range, 300-8000 mL), compared with 5000 mL (range, 1440-15000 mL) in the control group. Even after partial embolization, blood loss (median, 2000 mL) was significantly lower than in the control group. No significant differences in estimated blood loss were noted between the use of particles smaller than 250 microm and those larger than 250 microm. No embolization-related permanent neurologic deficit or skin or muscle necrosis occurred.


Preoperative embolization of spinal metastases of renal origin with polyvinyl alcohol particles is safe and might reduce intraoperative blood loss significantly. Even partial embolization seems to be effective.

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