Thoracolumbar vertebral reconstruction after surgery for metastatic spinal tumors: long-term outcomes.
OBJECT: Metastatic spinal tumors continue to represent a major problem for patients and treating physicians. The purpose of this study was to assess quantitatively the functional outcome, quality of life, and survival rates of patients after major reconstructive spine surgery. METHODS: A prospective database was established and 58 patients were identified who had undergone thoracolumbar vertebral reconstruction for metastatic spinal tumors between March 1993 and October 1999. Surgical indications included disabling pain (92%) and/or progressive neurological dysfunction (60%). Forty-nine patients (85%) had clinical improvement in pain as determined based on the Oswestry pain scale (p < 0.05); 60% demonstrated improvement in their neurological status. The mean neurological improvement in Frankel grade was 1.2 (p < 0.05). The 12-month survival rate was 65%, and all patients who were ambulatory after surgery remained so until the time of death. Instrumentation failure requiring repeated operation occurred in two patients (3.5%), and in 12 patients (21%) local tumor recurrence necessitated repeated surgery. There were no cases of neurological deficit or death related to surgery. CONCLUSIONS: Major anterior thoracolumbar vertebral reconstruction is an effective treatment for local tumor control. More importantly, the authors have demonstrated that surgical treatment can significantly improve the quality of life by improvement of pain control and maintenance of ambulation during the patient's remaining life span.
Villavicencio, AT; Oskouian, RJ; Roberson, C; Stokes, J; Park, J; Shaffrey, CI; Johnson, JP
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