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International Journal of Surgical Oncology
Volume 2011, Article ID 239230, 5 pages
Clinical Study

Minimally Invasive Posterior Stabilization Improved Ambulation and Pain Scores in Patients with Plasmacytomas and/or Metastases of the Spine

1Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Yawkey 3, 55 Fruit Street, Boston, MA 02114, USA
2Department of Oncologic Surgery, Rizzoli Institute, 40136 Bologna, Italy
3Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Ospedale Maggiore, 40136 Bologna, Italy
4Department of Orthopaedics, Traumatology and Spine Surgery, Ospedale Maggiore AUSL, 40136 Bologna, Italy

Received 18 November 2010; Accepted 5 June 2011

Academic Editor: Rudolf Beisse

Copyright © 2011 Joseph H. Schwab et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. The incidence of spine metastasis is expected to increase as the population ages, and so is the number of palliative spinal procedures. Minimally invasive procedures are attractive options in that they offer the theoretical advantage of less morbidity. Purpose. The purpose of our study was to evaluate whether minimally invasive posterior spinal instrumentation provided significant pain relief and improved function. Study Design. We compared pre- and postoperative pain scores as well as ambulatory status in a population of patients suffering from oncologic conditions in the spine. Patient Sample. A consecutive series of patients with spine tumors treated minimally invasively with stabilization were reviewed. Outcome Measures. Visual analog pain scale as well as pre- and postoperative ambulatory status were used as outcome measures. Methods. Twenty-four patients who underwent minimally invasive posterior spinal instrumentation for metastasis were retrospectively reviewed. Results. Seven (29%) patients were unable to ambulate secondary to pain and instability prior to surgery. All patients were ambulating within 2 to 3 days after having surgery ( ). The mean visual analog scale value for the preoperative patients was 2.8, and the mean postoperative value was 1.0 ( ). Conclusion. Minimally invasive posterior spinal instrumentation significantly improved pain and ambulatory status in this series.