A study published in the European Spine Journal indicates that surgery can be used to relieve pain and improve function and quality of life in patients with spinal metastases.
In the prospective study, 118 patients underwent spinal surgery for symptomatic vertebral metastases and were then followed up for 12 months or until death.
According the results, surgery was associated with a rapid improvement in axial and radicular pain, neurological deficit, sphincteric dysfunction and ambulatory status. Almost 50% of patients had complete resolution of back pain, radiculopathy and neurological deficit, and more than 50% of patients who were non-ambulant and incontinent regained ambulatory ability and recovered urinary incontinence. The greatest improvements seen in pain, function, and overall quality of life were in the early post-operative period and were maintained until death or during the 12-month follow-up period.
The study authors Quan et al concluded: “The potential for immediate improvement in pain, function, and quality of life in patients with symptomatic vertebral metastases should be considered during the decision-making process when selecting and counselling patients for surgery.”