Intradural spinal metastases: a surgical series of 15 patients

Acta Neurochir (2012) 154:871–877. DOI 10.1007/s00701-012-1313-5

Intradural spinal metastases are rare, and little is known regarding surgical indications and outcomes.

Methods A retrospective search identified adults with intradural spinal metastases operated on at the Mayo Clinic from 1994-2011. Data were collected regarding demographics, tumor type and location, and outcomes.

Results Fifteen patients with intradural spinal metastases were investigated. The age range was 38-74 years (mean= 55 years; ±SD=11.1). Predominant tumor location and type were lumbosacral and adenocarcinoma, respectively: 3 intramedullary and 12 extramedullary. Patients were operated on to relieve or prevent progressive/intractable neurological sequelae and/or pain. Of 13 who underwent resection, gross total removal was reported in 10; simple biopsy was performed in 2. There was one surgical complication, no medical complications, and no surgical mortality. At median follow-up of 1 month postoperatively, 10 of 15 patients were stable or improved. Of 13 patients who underwent resection, 10 were stable or improved. Of two patients who underwent biopsy, neither was stable or improved at follow-up. Using the Modified McCormick Scale, 11 of 15 patients were “functional” preoperatively and 4 went from “functional” preoperatively to “non-functional” postoperatively. Three of those four died within 60 days of surgery from systemic disease progression. Median hospital stay was 8 days. Ten of 15 patients died by the end of the study period, and the median survival of 15 patients was 5 months.

Conclusions With improved outcomes in metastatic cancer, more patients are encountered in practice. An aggressive surgical approach is warranted for extramedullary lesions, whereas caution is advised for intramedullary lesions. Postoperative functional decline is more likely due to systemic disease progression rather than surgery.