Resection of benign vertebral tumors by minimally invasive techniques

Gilad J. Regev*, K. Salame, O. Keynan, Z. Lidar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background context Benign tumors of the vertebrae are generally an uncommon cause for surgery. Complete removal of these tumors requires in most cases extensive surgical technique that consists of generous surgical exposure followed by laminectomy, facetectomy, and sometimes even an instrumented fusion. Purpose The aim was to describe our experience in performing resection of benign vertebral tumors, using a minimally invasive surgical (MIS) approach. Study design This was a retrospective review of case records. Patient sample Patients who underwent MIS, resection of benign vertebral tumors. Outcome measures Complete neurologic examination and pain evaluation, as measured by the visual analog scale (VAS). Secondary outcomes included postoperative spinal instability assessment and surgical margins examinations. Methods Patients were evaluated preoperatively and postoperatively at 1, 3, and 6 months intervals clinically and radiographically using plain radiographs and postoperative computed tomography (CT) scans. Final pathologic report, operative time, blood loss, complications, and hospital length of stay were also recorded. Results Between 2009 and 2013, 14 patients underwent MIS, resection of benign vertebral tumors at our institution. Mean follow-up time was 4 years. There were eight men and six women with a mean age of 27 years (range 16-68 years). For tumors located in the posterior elements, a direct posterior approach was used. Tumors located at the pedicle of the vertebra were excised using a transpedicular approach, and tumors protruding into the foramen were excised using the transforaminal approach. The transcanal approach was used when decompression of the thecal sac or nerve root was required, and the retroperitoneal transpsoas approach was used for tumors located in the vertebral body. Complete removal of these tumors was achieved in all cases, and was verified by a follow-up CT scan. Pathology revealed osteoid osteoma in five patients, osteoblastoma in three patients. Eosinophilic granuloma, fibrous dysplasia, and fibroid adenoma were found in one case each. Average VAS pain score improved from 7.7 (7-9) to 2.8 (0-7) after surgery. Conclusions Minimally invasive techniques are a valuable choice for the treatment of benign osseous tumors of the spine. A larger, long-term study is in progress. In the meantime, we suggest surgeons experienced with both open and MIS surgery should consider these techniques.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2396-2403
Number of pages8
JournalSpine Journal
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Eosinophilic granuloma
  • Fibrous dysplasia
  • Marginal excision
  • Minimally invasive
  • Osteoblastoma
  • Osteoid osteoma


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