Metastases to the upper cervical spine were rarely reported in the literature. However, metastases to this area may cause spinal instability and cord compression, which in turn can result in respiratory failure and neurological dysfunction. The present study investigated the efficacy and safety of posterior decompression and occipitocervical fixation followed by intraoperative vertebroplasty for this disease.
This was a retrospective study that included 10 patients with metastatic involvement of the axis from March 2002 to May 2014. All cases presented with occipitocervical pain: 5 patients with compressive myelopathy and 6 patients with radiculopathy. Japanese Orthopedic Association (JOA) scores and Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) were used to evaluate the improvement of neurological function and pain intensity, respectively.
All patients underwent posterior decompression and occipitocervical fixation followed by intraoperative vertebroplasty. The VAS scores and JOA scores both improved postoperatively, from 8.2 ± 0.4 to 2.3 ± 0.2 and from 10.1 ± 2.2 to 14.2 ± 2.9, respectively. Additionally, the improvement rate of JOA was 52.4 ± 1.8%. The mean overall survival was 12.8 months. The median survival time was 7 months. The 6-month and 12-month survival rates were 70% and 40%, respectively. The mean duration of operation was 182 min and blood loss was 450 mL. The mean volume of bone cement injected was 4.0 mL. The cement extravasation was observed in only 1 patient without clinical symptoms. One patient developed tumour recurrence and died 1 month later.
Posterior decompression and occipitocervical fixation followed by intraoperative vertebroplasty was a safe and valuable palliative method with relatively less invasion to treat metastatic involvement of the axis.
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- Posterior decompression and occipitocervical fixation followed by intraoperative vertebroplasty for metastatic involvement of the axis
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