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Open Access Research article

Comparison of prognostic scores and surgical approaches to treat spinal metastatic tumors: A review of 57 cases

Selcuk Yilmazlar*, Seref Dogan, Basak Caner, Alper Turkkan, Ahmet Bekar and Ender Korfali

Author Affiliations

Department of Neurosurgery, School of Medicine, Uludag University, Gorukle Kampus, Bursa 16059, Turkey

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Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research 2008, 3:37  doi:10.1186/1749-799X-3-37

Published: 28 August 2008

Abstract

Surgical treatment of metastatic spinal cord compression with or without neural deficit is controversial. Karnofsky and Tokuhashi scores have been proposed for prognosis of spinal metastasis. Here, we conducted a retrospective analysis of Karnofsky and modified Tokuhashi scores in 57 consecutive patients undergoing surgery for secondary spinal metastases to evaluate the value of these scores in aiding decision making for surgery. Comparison of preoperative Karnofsky and modified Tokuhashi scores with the type of the surgical approach for each patient revealed that both scores not only reliably estimate life expectancy, but also objectively improved surgical decisions. When the general status of the patient is poor (i.e., Karnofsky score less than 40% or modified Tokuhashi score of 5 or greater), palliative treatments and radiotherapy, rather than surgery, should be considered.