Total en bloc resection of primary and metastatic spine tumors
Primary and metastatic tumors of the spine represent a significant cause of patient morbidity, and present a management challenge to treating providers. From a neurosurgical standpoint, resection surgery may be warranted in cases of spinal instability, progressive disease, neurological compromise, or intractable symptoms. Removal of a tumor “en bloc” offers a more aggressive modality over more conservative resection techniques. En bloc resection entails the removal of the entirety of a tumor without violation of its capsule, and may offer improved rates of local control and overall survival in appropriately selected patients. Conversely, this technique carries a higher complication rate, and requires a unique set of technical skills as compared to more traditional resection. Here, we describe the technical aspects of en bloc resection, as well as specific indications and considerations when employing this operative technique.