Surgical treatment for metastases of the cervical spine

  • Farzam Vazifehdan
  • Vasilios G. Karantzoulis
  • Vasilios G. IgoumenouEmail author
Original Article • SPINE - METASTASES



There are limited information and inconclusive results for the management of patients with cervical spine metastases. Therefore, we performed this study to evaluate the survival and outcome of these patients, and the surgical risk and complications.

Materials and Methods

We retrospectively studied 24 patients [14 men and 10 women; mean age, 71 years (range 54–89 years)], with cervical spine metastases, who underwent palliative surgical treatment, from December 2010 to December 2016. Mean follow-up was 14 months (range 1–42 months). We evaluated the survival and the outcome of the patients with respect to pain relief and neurological status, and the surgical risk and complications.


At the last follow-up, three patients were alive with disease, and 21 patients were dead with disease. Overall median survival was 14.8 months (range 1–47 months). A posterior approach was performed in 15 patients, an anterior approach with corpectomy and fusion in eight patients, and a two-stage combined approach in one patient. Overall, 21 patients experienced complete or almost complete, two patients mild, and one patient no pain relief; seven patients experienced complete neurological improvement, two patients moderate, while four patients remained stable. Overall, five patients experienced six complications including residual pain, sagittal malalignment with instability, and wound dehiscence; in five complications, a reoperation was necessary.


Palliative surgical treatment is usually performed in patients with metastatic bone disease of the cervical spine. Appropriate selection of the surgical technique is mandatory. However, the survival of the patients is dismal, and complications should be expected.


Cervical spine Spinal metastases Palliative treatment 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag France SAS 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Spine Center Stuttgart, PaulinenhilfeDiakonie-KlinikumStuttgartGermany

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