Purpose: To determine the efficacy of percutaneous vertebroplasty in treating spinal metastases that result in pain or instability.
Materials and methods: Thirty-seven patients (20 men, 17 women; aged 33-86 years) underwent 52 percutaneous injections of surgical cement into a vertebra (vertebroplasty) with fluoroscopic guidance in 40 procedures. Vertebroplasty was performed for analgesia in 29 procedures, stabilization of the vertebral column in five procedures, and both in six procedures.
Results: Twenty-four of the 33 procedures performed for analgesia that were evaluated resulted in clear improvement; seven, moderate improvement; and two, no improvement. Improvement was stable in 73% of patients at 6 months. In the procedure performed for stabilization, no displacement of treated vertebrae was observed (mean follow-up, 13 months). Three patients had transient radiculopathy due to cement extrusion, and two patients had transient difficulty in swallowing.
Conclusion: Vertebroplasty of metastases is a minimally invasive procedure that provides immediate and long-term pain relief and contributes to spinal stabilization.