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Keywords:

  • cancer;
  • pain;
  • rehabilitation;
  • spine;
  • spine metastasis

Abstract

The treatment of metastatic spine tumors has evolved significantly over the past 20 years due largely to improvements in magnetic resonance imaging; decompressive surgical techniques, spinal instrumentation, and high-dose conformal radiation. These advances have improved our ability to provide meaningful palliation for patients who often have significant medical and cancer-related issues. Despite technical advances that have improved our ability to maintain neurologic function, stabilize the spine, and prevent local tumor recurrences, significant barriers to rehabilitation remain. This article reviews these primary barriers to rehabilitation of the cancer patient following spine surgery and emphasizes the importance of diagnostic accuracy and a comprehensive team approach to the treatment of pain and other disorders in this population. J. Surg. Oncol. 95:419–426. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.