Vertebral hemangiomas: Diagnosis and management. A single center experience

Nahom Teferi, Ibrahim Abukhiran, Jennifer Noeller, Logan C. Helland, Girish Bathla, Eleanor C. Ryan, Kirill V. Nourski, Patrick W. Hitchon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objective: Vertebral hemangiomas (VH) are common benign lesions involving the spine. Owing to the multiplicity of treatments, the management of VH has not always been consistent. In this retrospective review of a single center experience, indications and options available for the treatment of VH are outlined. Patients and Methods: This is a retrospective review of 71 cases of VH managed at our institution between 2005 and 2019. Sixty of these cases were managed non-operatively, with 11 cases undergoing operative intervention. Of the 11 cases that underwent surgery, there were 2 cervical cases and 9 in the thoracic spine. Ten cases were symptomatic, and 1 incidental. Three patients presented with localized pain, and the remaining 7 had neurological deficit. Decompression with maximal resection of the hemangioma was undertaken in 10 cases, and vertebroplasty in 1. Results: Of the 60 patients who were managed non-operatively, 13 patients had presented with back/neck pain, with the remaining 47 patients being asymptomatic and diagnosed incidentally. Among the 13 symptomatic patients, all were offered surgical intervention for pain management, but given lack of severity of symptoms, all had opted for conservative approaches of pain control. In the 11 patients who underwent surgery, the preoperative diagnosis of VH was accurate in all but 1 case. There were 2 cervical cases treated with corpectomy. One patient was treated with vertebroplasty, and the remaining 8 with decompression. Radiation was used in 2 cases. Of the 10 patients undergoing decompression, 7 patients had improvement of the neurologic deficit, with resolution of pain in the remaining 3. None of our cases demonstrated deterioration. Conclusion: VH are often discovered incidentally during evaluation of spinal pain. Except in rare cases, the diagnosis of VH is made correctly from the radiographic and MRI studies. Observation for the asymptomatic lesion is appropriate. For VH presenting with deficit or intractable pain, decompressive surgery is recommended. Radiation is appropriate in cases of recurrent VH.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105745
JournalClinical Neurology and Neurosurgery
StatePublished - Mar 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020


  • Benign spinal tumor
  • Decompressive surgery
  • Spinal cord compression
  • Vertebroplasty

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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