Surgical Strategy for Sacral Tumor Resection

Yonsei Med J. 2021 Jan;62(1):59-67. doi: 10.3349/ymj.2021.62.1.59.


Purpose: This study aimed to present our experiences with a precise surgical strategy for sacrectomy.

Materials and methods: This study comprised a retrospective review of 16 patients (6 males and 10 females) who underwent sacrectomy from 2011 to 2019. The average age was 42.4 years old, and the mean follow-up period was 40.8 months. Clinical data, including age, sex, history, pathology, radiographs, surgical approaches, onset of recurrence, and prognosis, were analyzed.

Results: The main preoperative symptom was non-specific local pain. Nine patients (56%) complained of bladder and bowel symptoms. All patients required spinopelvic reconstruction after sacrectomy. Three patients, one high, one middle, and one hemi-sacrectomy, underwent spinopelvic reconstruction. The pathology findings of tumors varied (chordoma, n=7; nerve sheath tumor, n=4; giant cell tumor, n=3, etc.). Adjuvant radiotherapy was performed for 5 patients, chemotherapy for three, and combined chemoradiotherapy for another three. Six patients (38%) reported postoperative motor weakness, and newly postoperative bladder and bowel symptoms occurred in 5 patients. Three patients (12%) experienced recurrence and expired.

Conclusion: In surgical resection of sacral tumors, the surgical approach depends on the size, location, extension, and pathology of the tumors. The recommended treatment option for sacral tumors is to remove as much of the tumor as possible. The level of root sacrifice is a predicting factor for postoperative neurologic functional impairment and the potential for morbidity. Pre-operative angiography and embolization are recommended to prevent excessive bleeding during surgery. Spinopelvic reconstruction must be considered following a total or high sacrectomy or sacroiliac joint removal.

Keywords: Embolization; muscle flap; sacral tumor; sacrectomy; spinopelvic reconstruction; strategy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Osteotomy* / adverse effects
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sacrum / surgery*
  • Spinal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Spinal Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Spinal Neoplasms / surgery*