Metastatic Disease in the Thoracic and Lumbar Spine: Evaluation and Management

Peter S. Rose, MD and Jacob M. Buchowski, MD, MS J Am Acad Orthop Surg, Vol 19, No 1, January 2011,

Spinal metastases are found in most patients who die of cancer. The number of patients with symptomatic spinal metastases likely will increase as therapy for the primary disease improves and as cardiovascular mortality decreases. Understanding the epidemiology of metastatic spine disease and its presentation is essential to developing a diagnostic strategy. Treatment may involve chemotherapy, corticosteroids, radiotherapy, surgery, and/or percutaneous procedures (eg, vertebroplasty, kyphoplasty). A rational treatment plan can help improve quality of life, preserve neurologic function, and prolong survival.

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