Purpose: While radiotherapy is generally an acceptable treatment for metastatic spinal cord compression, surgical intervention is controversial due to the invasiveness and diversity of diseases in the patients being considered. The ideal treatment, therefore, depends on the situation, and the most acute treatment possible is necessary in patients presenting with myelopathy. We compared the neurological outcomes between radiotherapy and surgery in patients with metastatic spinal cord compression presenting with myelopathy. Methods: A total 54 patients with metastatic spinal cord compression presenting with myelopathy treated in our institution between 2006 and 2016 were analyzed retrospectively. Twenty patients were selected by radiotherapy alone (radiation group), and 36 patients were selected by decompression and stabilization surgery with or without radiotherapy (surgery group). The neurological outcomes and complications were compared between the two treatment groups. Results: Seven patients initially in the radiation group underwent surgery because of a substantial decline in their motor strength during radiotherapy. One of the remaining 13 patients (8%) in the radiation group and 30 of the 34 patients (88%) in the surgery group showed improvement in their neurological symptoms (P < 0.01). One patient (8%) in the radiation group and 21 patients (62%) in the surgery group were ambulatory after treatment (P < 0.01). There were no major complications related to radiotherapy, but surgery-related complications occurred in 9 of 34 (26%) patients, and 6 (18%) patients needed reoperation. Conclusions: Surgical decompression and stabilization may be required to improve the neurological function in patients with metastatic spinal cord compression presenting with myelopathy. However, the high rate of complications associated with surgery should be taken into consideration.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine