Objective of the Study:
En bloc resections of spine tumors aim at locally controlling the disease for both improving the patient’s quality of life as well as improving mortality. The purpose of this study was to compare the outcome between patients who were initially treated in a high volume specialized center, and patients who initially underwent either invasive diagnostic procedure or an initial surgical attempt to treat the disease in a different center.
Materials and Methods:
A retrospective study of 1681 patients affected by spine tumors—treated from 1990 to 2015 by the same team.
A total of 220 en bloc resections that were performed on 216 patients during that period. Most of the tumors were primary—165 cases (43 benign and 122 malignant), metastases occurred in 55 cases. One hundred sixty-eight patients (77.8%) were solely treated in the institute and were considered noncontaminated cases (NCCs) and 48 (22.2%) were previously treated elsewhere and were considered contaminated cases (CCs). Median follow-up was 45 months (0–371).
Thirty-three local recurrences (15.28%) were recorded. Fourteen patients (29.17%) from the CC and 19 (11.31%) from the NCC group.
A total of 153 complications were observed in 100 out of 216 patients (46.2%). Sixty-four of these patients (30%) suffered 1 complication, while the rest had 2 or more. Twenty-eight (58%) of the CC group and 72 (42.85%) of the NCC group, had at least 1 complication.
Sixty patients died as a result of the disease during the follow-up period. Twenty-one (43.75%) and 39 (23.21%) patients died in the CC and NCC cohorts, respectively.
CC, surgical margins of the resected tumor—intralesional, marginal, and malignant tumors, were statistically significant independent risk factors for local recurrence of the tumor. Contamination, local recurrence, neoadjuvant radiotherapy, the number of level resected, and metastatic tumors compared with primary malignant tumor, were shown to be independent risk factors for patient’s death.
It is apparent that there is a substantial added risk in performing either invasive diagnostic procedures or attempting a surgical resection of the tumor in a nonspecialized center. This risk includes both higher recurrences of the tumor as well as increased mortality. It is therefore reasonable to conclude that the whole treatment, from biopsy to resection, should be performed in the same center, and this center should be a high volume, specialized in treating these type of spine pathologies.
The surgeon who treats the patient first has a great responsibility, as it is the first treatment that most affects prognosis. To reduce the chance of local recurrence, morbidity, and mortality, all invasive diagnosis and treatment, should be performed by an experienced team, as the consequences are dramatic.