Fifteen years of bone tumor cryosurgery: A single-center experience of 440 procedures and long-term follow-up

I. Meller*, A. Weinbroum, J. Bickels, S. Dadia, A. Nirkin, O. Merimsky, J. Issakov, G. Flusser, N. Marouani, N. Cohen, Y. Kollender

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: This summary of a single center's extensive cumulative experience in bone tumor cryosurgery assesses the long-term outcome of bone conservation surgery in which adjuvant cryosurgery plays a pivotal role. Materials and methods: We performed 440 cryosurgical procedures between January 1988 and December 2002. Two-thirds of the series comprised a variety of primary benign-aggressive and low-grade malignant lesions, and one-third were primary high-grade and metastatic bone tumors. The anatomical locations included almost every bone of the skeleton. Two methods of bone cryosurgery were used: Marcove's "open" direct-pour system using liquid nitrogen (1988-1997) and Meller's "closed" argon-based system (1998 to the present). Results: The study cohort consisted of 214 males and 191 females (age range 5-82 years). The median follow-up was 7 years (range 3-18). The overall local recurrence rate was 8%: fractures = 1%, infections = 2% and skin burns = 1.3%. There were three cases of transient nerve palsies in areas other than the sacrum, and four cases of late osteoarthritis of an adjacent joint. The functional outcome for the 372 patients with no evidence of disease was almost 100% "good" and "excellent" (American Musculo-skeletal Tumor Society System). Only two patients needed secondary amputations. Conclusions: Bone cryosurgery is a safe and effective limb-, joint- and even epiphysis-sparing surgical technique in suitable types of bone tumors, temporarily or permanently obviating the need for resection surgery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)921-927
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Surgical Oncology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Bone sarcoma
  • Bone tumor
  • Cryosurgery
  • Limb-sparing surgery
  • Metastases


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