Two-stage, combined, three-level en bloc spondylectomy for a recurrent post-radiation sarcoma of the lumbar spine

Roberto Casadei, Andreas F. Mavrogenis, Massimiliano De Paolis, Pietro Ruggieri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


En bloc or extralesional resection means resection of the tumor in one piece together with a layer of healthy tissue: the margin is either marginal or wide. The prerequisite for an en bloc or extralesional spondylectomy is a tumor involvement of no more than one side of the posterior structures, so that a corridor can be created through which the spinal cord is released. This article presents a two-stage, combined anterior and posterolateral, three-level en bloc spondylectomy, and local flap wound coverage for a patient with a recurrent post-radiation sarcoma of the lumbar spine and infected wound after intralesional treatment. The patient had radiation therapy for an L4 Hodgkin's lymphoma 5 years before the development of the post-radiation sarcoma. Two-stage, three-level en bloc spondylectomy was done through a combined anterior and posterolateral approach. The resection margins were microscopically negative. Dural tear occurred intraoperatively because of tightly adherent dense scar tissue. Two years after spondylectomy, there was no evidence of tumor or infection recurrence; however, the patient died from her lymphoma. In surgically difficult spinal resections, we recommend the two-stage, combined anterior and posterolateral approach for en bloc spondylectomy. The staged procedure may provide for reduced perioperative complications and mortality, and meticulous dissection in the irradiated area, especially if infected. The combined approach provides for easier and safer dissection of the tumor and the spine from the anterior elements under direct visual control, and wide tumor resection.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • En bloc spondylectomy
  • Lumbar spine
  • Post-radiation sarcoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Medicine(all)


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