Is minimally-invasive spinal surgery a reliable treatment option in symptomatic spinal metastasis?

S Colangeli, R Capanna, Stefano Bandiera, Riccardo Ghermandi, Marco Girolami, P D Parchi, V Pipola, F Sacchetti, Alessandro Gasbarrini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: Up to 70% of patients with cancer are likely to develop spine metastasis. Radiation therapy is the standard of care for painful spinal metastases in absence of unstable or impending fractures. More frequently these patients require open palliative surgery for pain, vertebral collapse and neurological deficits. Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery (MISS) techniques using percutaneous pedicle screw fixation may be considered as an alternative to open surgery in selected cases. MISS techniques are thought to be associated with fewer tissues damages resulting in early pain relief, they also allow for early mobilization and optimization of function.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: From 2011 to 2018, 52 patients affected by spinal metastasis were treated with MISS techniques in Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute of Bologna and in Cisanello Hospital of Pisa, Italy. All patients underwent percutaneous pedicle screw fixations (PPSF) coupled with mini-decompressions in case it was required by spinal cord compressions. All patients were evaluated pre and post-operatively by Frenkel classification and VAS scores.

RESULTS: Mean follow-up time was 19,4 months. Preoperatively, Frankel scores were E in 37 patients, D3 in 6 patients, D2 in 3 cases, D1 in 3 patients, B in one patient and C in two. The Frankel score improved in 10 patients, remained stable in 40 patients and worsened in two patients. Preoperatively, the mean VAS score in 29 patients treated with PPSF procedure with spinal decompression was 7, while postoperatively, it became 5. In 23 patients who underwent only PPSF procedure without spinal decompression mean VAS score was 5, postoperatively it became 3.

CONCLUSIONS: In selected cases, MISS surgeries may be considered as a valid alternative to open surgery. Although the efficacy of PPSF has been well documented in trauma or degenerative spine surgery, there is not sufficient literature about MISS techniques in spinal metastasis and further studies are needed to elucidate the most appropriate patient in which this approach could represent the gold standard of treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6526-6532
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


  • MISS surgery
  • Metastasis
  • Spine surgery
  • Minimally-invasive
  • Spinal metastasis
  • Orthopedic oncology


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