Alcohol ablation of symptomatic vertebral hemangiomas

Mayank Goyal, Nalin K. Mishra, Aseem Sharma, Shailesh B. Gaikwad, B. K. Mohanty, Sanjiv Sharma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Many therapeutic techniques have been used for the treatment of symptomatic vertebral hemangiomas (SVH), and each has its own limitations. Our objective was to evaluate the therapeutic efficacy of alcohol ablation for treating these lesions. METHODS: Fourteen patients with SVH were treated by injection of absolute alcohol into the lesion via the percutaneous transpedicular route under CT guidance. Symptoms before treatment included neurologic deficit in 13 patients and debilitating pain in one. All patients underwent preprocedural MR imaging. All patients had clinical and MR imaging follow-up (14 patients at 48-96 hours and 2 months; six at 9-15 months). Results were divided into excellent (resumption of work, alleviation of pain), good (significant improvement), and failure of treatment categories on the basis of subjective assessment of clinical improvement. Clinical improvement/deterioration was correlated with MR- revealed changes. RESULTS: All patients showed transient deterioration of neurologic status after alcohol ablation. Subsequently, excellent results were seen in five patients and eight were in the good category. One patient in whom treatment failed also developed a complication (paravertebral abscess). Four of the eight patients with good results had preprocedural cord changes. Total follow-up ranged from 5 to 31 months, with 11 patients showing stable improvement. One patient developed recurrent hemangioma within a month. Another patient became symptomatic after initial good response, secondary to the collapse of the involved vertebral body. Good correlation was found between clinical improvement and reduction of epidural soft-tissue masses on MR images. Cord signal alteration seen on MR images in four treated patients, however, did not show any change after treatment. CONCLUSION: Alcohol ablation is an effective management option for symptomatic vertebrai hemangiomas. Although encouraging results were seen in almost 86% of our patients, a longer follow-up period still is needed to assess the stability of improvement. Potential complications include vertebral collapse and infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1091-1096
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 25 1999


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