Fifty-seven patients with spinal metastases underwent 60 operations. 36 patients were operated on by anterior approach with decompressive coporectomy and stabilization by metal and methylmetacrylate and 24 patients by laminectomy and/or stabilization by osteosynthesis. Postoperative improvement of the pain syndrome was observed after 56 operations. Neurologic signs were present in 23 patients with paraplegia (5 patients) or paraparesis (18 patients); 15 of the latter patients improved and recovered walking capacity. Two types of metastasis were distinguished: corporal metastasis, in which vertebral wedging and posterior protrusion led to neural deficit, with a good prognosis if treated by anterior surgery, and pericordal metastasis in which the cord compression is due to metastatic proliferation into the spinal canal. Results after decompressive surgery, either by posterior or anterior approaches are more doubtful. Surgery is beneficial and should be preferred to radiation when there is medullary compression by corporal metastasis and also in the presence of intense pain or potential instability of the spine.
(C) Lippincott-Raven Publishers.