Purpose: To assess the technical success rate, complications, and effect on intraoperative blood loss of preoperative transarterial embolization of cervical spine tumors.
Methods: A retrospective analysis was performed on 38 patients with tumors of the cervical spine; 69 vertebrae were affected. Polyvinyl alcohol particles, coils, gelfoam particles, either alone or in combination, were used for preoperative tumor embolization. After embolization a total of 57 corporectomies with titanium basket implantation were performed.
Results: In 36 of 38 patients, complete (n = 27) or partial (n = 9) embolization was achieved. In 23 patients one vertebral artery was completely occluded by coil placement, and in one patient the ipsilateral internal and external carotid arteries were occluded in addition. No neurological complications could be directly related to the embolization, but two postoperative brain stem infarctions occurred. The mean intraoperative blood loss was 2.4 L.
Conclusion: Transarterial embolization of cervical spine tumors is a safe and effective procedure to facilitate extensive surgery.