Predictors for surgical complications of en bloc resections in the spine: review of 220 cases treated by the same team

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Purpose: Identify risk factors, enabling reduction of the rate of complications and improve outcome in en bloc resection surgeries. Methods: A retrospective study of prospective collected data of 1681 patients affected by spine tumors treated from 1990 to 2015 by the same team. Results: A total of 220 en bloc resections that were performed on 216 patients during that period. Most of the tumors were primary—165 cases (43 benign and 122 malignant), metastases occurred in 55 cases. Median FU was 45 months (0–371). 153 complications were observed in 100 patients (46.2 %). 64 (30 %) suffered one complication, while the rest had two or more. There were 105 major and 48 minor complications. Seven patients (4.6 %) died as a result of complications. The combined approach, neoadjuvant chemotherapy and neoadjuvant radiotherapy were statistically significant independent risk factors for complications occurrence. 33 patients (15.2 %) suffered from local recurrence. Reoperations were mostly due to tumor recurrences, but also to hardware failures, wound dehiscence, hematomas and aortic dissection. Conclusion: The rate of complication is higher in multisegmental resections and when double combined approach is performed. Reoperations display greater morbidity owing to dissection through scar/fibrosis from previous operations and possibly from RT. Careful treatment planning and, in the event of uncertainty, referral to a specialty center must be stressed. The high risk of complications should not discourage surgeons from performing en bloc resection when needed. Most of the patients who sustain complications benefit from the better local control resulting from en bloc resection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Spine Journal
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Mar 14 2016


  • Complications
  • En bloc resection
  • Morbidity
  • Spine tumors
  • Vertebrectomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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