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J Surg Oncol. 2013 Dec;108(7):499-503. doi: 10.1002/jso.23418. Epub 2013 Aug 27.

Less invasive palliative surgery for spinal metastases.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Seoul National University Hospital and College of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea; Neuroscience Research Institute, Seoul National University Medical Research Center, Seoul, South Korea; Clinical Research Institute, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, South Korea.



There may be patients with spinal metastasis for whom neither vertebroplasty/kyphoplasty nor open surgery is appropriate. Percutaneous pedicle screw fixation (PPSF) may fill the gap between techniques.


To assess the outcome of the PPSF and radiotherapy/chemotherapy.


PPSF was performed for 16 patients (mean age, 57  ± 12 years) with pathologic fractures, Tomita score ≥ 5, 3-6 months of life expectancy, minimal epidural tumor extension and a Nurick grade better than 3. PPSF was performed under general anesthesia. Collapsed vertebra(e) was restored during assembly of contoured rod. Vertebroplasty was then performed for 14 patients at the restored vertebra(e). The Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status grade was 2 in seven patients and 3 in nine. The numerical rating pain score (NRS) was 8.2  ± 1.8. The follow-up was 261 ± 193 days.


All patients walked home at postoperative day 4-7. Radiotherapy and chemotherapy was performed for 8 and 10 patients, respectively. ECOG was improved or stationary in 13/16 (81%) at 1-month and improved in 6/6 of alive patients at the last follow-up. NRS was 3.8 ± 2.0. The median ambulation and survival times were 207 and 222 days.


Using a multidisciplinary approach, quality of life can be improved for fragile patients with spinal metastasis.


Tomita; instrumentation; less invasive; neoplasm metastasis; palliative; spine

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