Management of Metastatic Cervical Spine Tumors

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The skeletal system is the third most common site of metastases after the lung and liver. Within the skeletal system, the vertebral column is the most common site of metastases, and 8% to 15% of vertebral metastases are in the cervical spine, consisting, anatomically and biomechanically, of the occipitocervical junction, subaxial spine, and cervicothoracic junction. The vertebral body is more commonly affected than the posterior elements. Nonsurgical management techniques include radiation therapy (stereotactic and conventional), bracing, and chemotherapy. Surgical techniques include percutaneous methods, such as vertebroplasty, and palliative methods, such as decompression and stabilization. Surgical approach depends on the location of the tumor and the goals of the surgery. Appropriate patient selection can lead to successful surgical outcomes by restoring spinal stability and improving quality of life.

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