Background Extensive lytic lesions of the vertebral body (VB) increase risk of fracture and instability and require stabilization of the anterior column. Vertebral augmentation is an accepted treatment option, but when osteolysis has extensively destroyed the VB cortical boundaries (a condition herein defined as ‘extreme osteolysis’), the risk of cement leakage and/or insufficient filling is high. Vertebral body stents (VBSs) might allow partial restoration of VB height, cement containment, and reinforcement, but their use in extreme osteolysis has not been investigated.
Objective To assess retrospectively the feasibility and safety of VBS augmentation in patients with ‘extreme osteolysis’ of the VB.
Methods We retrospectively analyzed 41 treated vertebrae (from T1 to L5). VB reconstruction was assessed on postprocedure CT images and rated on a qualitative 4-point scale (poor-fair-good-excellent). Clinical and radiological follow-up was performed at 1 month and thereafter at intervals in accordance with oncological protocols.
Results VBS augmentation was performed at 12 lumbar and 29 thoracic levels, with bilateral VBS in 23/41. VB reconstruction was judged satisfactory (good or excellent) in 37/41 (90%) of levels. Bilateral VBS received higher scores than unilateral (p=0.057, Pearson’s X2). We observed no periprocedural complications. Cement leaks (epidural or foraminal) occurred at 5/41 levels (12.2%) without clinical consequences. Follow-up data were available for 27/29 patients, extending beyond 6 months for 20 patients (7–28 months, mean 15.3 months). VBS implant stability was observed in 40/41 cases (97.5%).
Conclusions Our results support the use of VBS as a minimally invasive, safe and effective option for reconstructing the anterior column in prominent VB osteolysis.
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