Use of the reamer-irrigator-aspirator may reduce tumor dissemination during intramedullary fixation of malignancies

Cara A. Cipriano, Leonidas D. Arvanitis, Walter W. Virkus

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7 Scopus citations


Intramedullary nail fixation is the treatment of choice for impending and pathologic fractures secondary to metastatic cancer; however, this procedure has been shown to cause systemic embolization of intramedullary contents. This article reports the use of the reamer-irrigator-aspirator (RIA) (Synthes, Paoli, Pennsylvania) instead of a standard femoral reamer to decrease tumor intravasation during femoral intramedullary nail fixation for impending or pathologic fractures. Twenty-one consecutive patients indicated for fixation of malignant femoral lesions were treated with intramedullary nail placement. The RIA was used for canal preparation, and solid reamings were collected and submitted for analysis by a single pathologist. The volume of each specimen was recorded, and representative samples were examined histologically to determine their percent tumor content. These data were then used to estimate the volume of tumor retrieved by the RIA in each case. The mean volume of reamings collected by the RIA was 75.0 cc per case (range, 23.4-196.0 cc), and the mean tumor content was 24.8% (range, 1.0%-60.0%). The mean estimated volume of tumor retrieved in each case was 16.7 cc (range, 0.35-36.0 cc). In 2 cases, the tip of the RIA dissociated from the device intraoperatively but was retrieved without adverse consequence to the patient. Use of the RIA in cases of femoral intramedullary nail fixation for pathologic lesions or fractures effectively retrieves variable amounts of intramedullary contents, including tumor. By preventing the systemic dissemination of malignant cells, this technique may reduce the risk of distant metastases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e48-e52
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012


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