Total en bloc spondylectomy for lumbar renal cell carcinoma and review of the literature

Darweesh Al-Khawaja, Tamadur Mahasneh, Jonathan Li, Sue-Ellen Holmes

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    Introduction: Total en bloc spondylectomy (TES) is gaining increasing favour as a treatment of choice for cancers of the spine that are resistant to radiological and chemotherapeautic intervention such as renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Until recently, RCC of the lumbar spine has presented a surgical challenge due to anatomical and vascular constraints. The development of the combined posterior-anterior en bloc spondylectomy offers improved access to the lumbar region. This case report and review of the literature presents a combined posterior-anterior lumbar en bloc spondylectomy for RCC involving L3 vertebra, which we believe is the first reported in Australia. Methods: A 46-year-old male with a seven-year history of renal cell carcinoma resulting in a left nephrectomy presented with a lytic lesion involving the L3 vertebral body, extending to the epidural space and compressing the cauda equina and left L3 and L4 nerve roots on MRI. A literature review revealed ten previous cases of the posterior-anterior TES in the lumbar spine for cancerous lesions but none from Australia. Results: A posterior-anterior TES and L2-L4 fusion was performed to remove a cancerous renal cell carcinoma of L3 with wide margins. Blood loss was the major complication. The patient remains recurrence free at nineteen months post procedure. Conclusion: Despite being an aggressive and invasive procedure, TES is rapidly becoming the treatment of choice for curative and palliative care in select patients with isolated metastatic tumours of the lumbar spine.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)26-30
    Number of pages5
    JournalOpen journal of modern neurosurgery
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright the Author(s) 2014. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


    • En Bloc Spondylectomy
    • Renal Cell Carcinoma
    • Lumbar Spine


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