European Spine Journal

, Volume 19, Issue 6, pp 871–878 | Cite as

Paraspinal extramedullary hematopoiesis in patients with thalassemia intermedia

  • Rachid Haidar
  • Hani Mhaidli
  • Ali T. Taher
Review Article


Ineffective erythropoiesis in patients with thalassemia intermedia drives extramedullary hematopoietic tumor formation in several parts of the body. Paraspinal involvement has received increasing attention due to the associated morbidity secondary to spinal cord compression. Although the history and physical examination may help narrow the differential diagnosis, radiographic imaging remains essential to confirm the existence of hematopoietic tissue. Characteristic appearance has been observed mainly on magnetic resonance imaging. Several treatment options have been described, including transfusion therapy, laminectomy, radiotherapy, and the use of fetal hemoglobin inducing agents that decrease the hematopoietic drive. However, the ideal management scheme remains controversial. Until large prospective trials evaluate the efficacy and safety of the available treatment options, both in single and in combination therapy, an individualized approach should be entertained.


Thalassemia intermedia Spine Extramedullary hematopoiesis Review 


Conflict of interest statement

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose. This study did not receive external funding.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Orthopedic Surgery, Department of SurgeryAmerican University of Beirut Medical CenterBeirutLebanon
  2. 2.Spine ServiceHospital Universitario de Gran CanariaLas PalmasSpain
  3. 3.Division of Hematology and Oncology, Department of Internal MedicineAmerican University of Beirut Medical CenterBeirutLebanon

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