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J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2006 Dec;88(12):2721-4.

Unsuspected lymphoma diagnosed with use of biopsy during kyphoplasty.

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  • 1Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Hospital for Special Surgery, 535 East 70th Street, New York, NY 10021, USA.



Vertebral augmentation procedures are currently widely performed to treat vertebral compression fractures. In selecting appropriate patients for these procedures, it is important to distinguish the pain caused by a fracture from other causes of back pain. The purpose of this study was to determine the frequency of underlying, previously unrecognized malignant tumors in a consecutive series of patients undergoing kyphoplasty to treat vertebral compression fractures. Our hypothesis was that an unsuspected malignant tumor will exist and that a bone-marrow aspiration from the iliac crest would enhance our ability to detect a malignant tumor.


A prospective histological evaluation of vertebral body biopsy specimens from presumed osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures and a concurrent bone-marrow aspiration from the iliac crest were performed in order to identify latent hematopoietic dyscrasias. Over a four-year period, vertebral body biopsies from 523 vertebral levels as well as iliac crest bone-marrow aspirations were performed in 238 patients. Both specimens were evaluated histologically, and the prevalence of an underlying occult malignant neoplasm was determined.


All specimens from the vertebral bodies showed signs of bone-remodeling and/or fracture-healing. However, in three patients, both the bone biopsy specimen and the bone-marrow aspirate showed evidence of B-cell lymphoma. The bone-marrow aspirate did not provide any additional information compared with the vertebral body biopsy specimen, and multiple myeloma was not identified in any patient.


Lymphoma is an uncommon cause of a vertebral compression fracture, but on the basis of our experience in this series, we recommend that vertebral body biopsy specimens be obtained in all patients managed with kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty to rule out an unsuspected malignant tumor. However, we do not recommend the routine use of an additional bone-marrow aspiration from the iliac crest during vertebral augmentation procedures because doing so did not appear to enhance our ability to detect a malignant tumor.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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