Bone marrow washout for multilevel vertebroplasty in multiple myeloma spinal involvement. Technical note

Eur Spine J. 2019 Jun;28(6):1455-1460. doi: 10.1007/s00586-018-5804-9. Epub 2018 Nov 7.


Introduction: Vertebral involvement is found in a high percentage of multiple myeloma (MM) patients, often requiring multilevel surgical treatment to reduce pain and disability and to receive prompt access to oncological care. We describe the clinical use of washout technique for multilevel vertebroplasty in MM patients with diffuse spinal involvement. The aim of this technique is to reduce the risk of pulmonary fat embolism after cement injection and possibly to increment the amount of cement and treated levels in one surgical stage.

Methods: Three patients were treated with the washout technique prior to multilevel vertebroplasty for thoracolumbar diffuse spinal involvement in multiple myeloma. We describe the surgical technique and review the pertinent literature.

Results: The technique is clinically safe and effective in reducing pain, without significant complications. Two six-level vertebroplasties were performed in one case, allowing a larger amount of cement injected and a prompt start of the oncological treatment.

Conclusions: Multilevel vertebroplasty in MM patients with diffuse spinal involvement carries the advantages of reducing pain, avoid repeated surgeries and faster return to oncological regimen. Cardiovascular complications, including pulmonary embolism, are rare but can have fatal consequences. It is mainly due to bone marrow mobilization during cement injection and the risk increases with the amount of cement injected and the number of treated levels. Despite multilevel treatment at the same stage, we did not observe any significant complication in our series. Further studies are needed to confirm the preliminary results of this technique. These slides can be retrieved under electronic supplementary material.

Keywords: Fat pulmonary embolism; Lavage; Multiple myeloma; Vertebral washout; Vertebroplasty.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Bone Marrow Purging*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Myeloma / therapy*
  • Spinal Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Vertebroplasty*