Study design: Overall quality of life after surgical management of metastatic disease of the spine was prospectively assessed using a validated global health status quality-of-life instrument-the Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale.
Objectives: To prospectively evaluate the efficacy of surgery in patients with metastatic spinal disease with respect to quality of life.
Summary of background data: Management of spinal metastases is palliative and is aimed at improving quality of life at an acceptable risk. Although previous studies have evaluated physical outcomes, improvements in pain, and neurologic function after surgery, a multidimensional assessment of quality of life is more relevant in the palliative patient.
Methods: Twenty-five consecutive patients undergoing surgery for spinal metastases were prospectively evaluated. Pre- and postoperative assessments were performed using the Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale. The surgical procedure consisted of decompression and instrumented stabilization.
Results: After surgery, the largest improvement was noted in the domain of pain (P < 0.00001). There were also significant improvements noted in the domains of tiredness (P = 0.004), nausea (P = 0.01), anxiety (P = 0.006), drowsiness (P = 0.044), appetite (P = 0.02), and well-being (P = 0.004).
Conclusions: The current study demonstrates that in the appropriate patient, surgical management brings about a positive effect on the overall quality of life in patients with spinal metastases. The greatest benefit occurred in the reduction of a patient's level of pain.