Skip to:

Preoperative embolization versus local hemostatic agents in surgery of hypervascular spinal tumors

Dmitry Ptashnikov, MD, PhD, Nikita Zaborovskii, MD, Dmitry Mikhaylov, MD, Sergei Masevnin, MD

Vreden Russian Research Institute of Traumatology and Orthopedics Spinal Surgery and Oncology



Currently, there is no consensus about how to reduce the intraoperative risk of hemorrhage in spinal decompression surgery of hypervascular spinal tumors, such as aggressive hemangioma, multiple myeloma, plasmacytoma, metastasis of renal cell carcinoma.


A retrospective study of 110 patients, operated in our institute was held in the period between 2003 and 2013. There were 69 male and 41 female patients with extradural hypervascular spinal tumor. The study included 61 patients with metastasis of renal cell carcinoma, 27 with multiple myeloma, 15 with plasmacytoma and 7 with aggressive hemangioma.

The first group included 57 patients who underwent preoperative tumor embolization. The second group consisted of 53 patients, which were treated surgically using intraoperative local hemostatic agents. We performed 2 types of treatment options: palliative decompression and total spondylectomy. The first group was divided into two subgroups: 30 patients with palliative decompression (1PD) and 27 with total spondylectomy (1TS). In the second group there were: 28 patients with palliative decompression (2PD) and 25 with total spondylectomy (2TS). The parameters under evaluation were the blood loss volume, drainage loss, operation time, hemoglobin level, possible complications and time of hospital stay. 


The average intraoperative blood loss for all embolized patients was slightly less than in subgroups with local hemostatic agents. No significant difference in blood loss volume was found between groups 1PD and 2PD (p>0.05). In groups 1TS and 2TS, we did get significant difference (p<0.05). 

Statistically significant difference in the average drainage loss was found between two methods of hemostasis in both subgroups (p<0.05). The operation time was not significantly different between groups. Postoperative hemoglobin level reduce is almost equal in both groups of patients. Postoperative complications were also nearly equal in the groups. The average hospital stay was significantly less (p<0.05) in groups with 2PD and 2TS.


The research proves that for patients with hypervascular spinal tumors, who underwent palliative decompression, there is no significant difference between two methods of reducing blood loss. Therefore, we do not see reasons to use expensive and risky procedure of embolization for such patients. While for patients with total spondylectomy preoperative embolization is efficient to reduce intraoperative bleeding.

tumors, blood loss, embolization, local hemostatic agents, decompression
Volume 8 Article 33