The existing literature on preoperative spine tumor embolization is limited in size of patient cohorts and diversity of tumor histologies. This report presents our experience with preoperative embolization of hypervascular thoracic, lumbar, and sacral spinal column tumors in the largest series to date.
We conducted a retrospective review of 228 angiograms and 188 pre-operative embolizations for tumors involving thoracic, lumbar and sacral spinal column. Tumor vascularity was evaluated with conventional spinal angiography and was graded from 0 (same as normal adjacent vertebral body) to 3 (severe tumor blush with arteriovenous shunting). Embolic materials included poly vinyl alcohol (PVA) particles and detachable platinum coils and rarely, liquid embolics. The degree of embolization was graded as complete, near-complete, or partial. Anesthesia records were reviewed to document blood loss during surgery.
Renal cell carcinoma (44.2%), thyroid carcinoma (9.2%), and leiomyosarcoma (6.6%) were the most common tumors out of a total of 40 tumor histologies. Hemangiopericytoma had the highest mean vascularity (2.6) of all tumor types with at least five representative cases followed by renal cell carcinoma (2.0) and thyroid carcinoma (2.0). PVA particles were used in 100% of cases. Detachable platinum coils were used in 51.6% of cases. Complete, near-complete, and partial embolizations were achieved in 86.1%, 12.7%, and 1.2% of all cases, respectively. There were no new post-procedure neurologic deficits or other complications with long-term morbidity. The mean intra-operative blood loss for the hypervascular tumors treated with pre-operative embolization was 1745 cc.
Preoperative embolization of hypervascular thoracic, lumbar, and sacral spine tumors can be performed with high success rates and a high degree of safety at high volume centers.