We reviewed the cases of nine patients with a giant-cell tumor of the vertebrae. All segments of the spine can be affected by the tumor, but there was a predilection for the lumbar segments in our series. Pain was present in all patients. The maximum duration before the diagnosis was made was three years and the minimum, forty-five days (average, 12.2 months). In six patients a neural deficit was also present. One patient was treated many years ago by radiation therapy alone; three patients were treated by decompressive laminectomy; two, by excision of the lesion and postoperative radiation therapy; and three patients underwent lesional but extensive excision as well as arthrodesis without any preoperative or postoperative radiation therapy. We have obtained good results with the latter treatment; after follow-ups of sixty, twenty-six, and twenty-four months in three patients the pain and the neural symptoms subsided, while roentgenographic examination showed no evidence of local recurrence. In all patients the autogenous bone grafts appeared to be incorporated, without any secondary deformity. We concluded that, due to the development of better surgical techniques, the surgical approach is probably the best modern treatment for a giant-cell tumor located in the spine.
Copyright 1983 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated