En bloc resection of a pheochromocytoma metastatic to the spine for local tumor control and for treatment of chronic catecholamine release and related hypertension

Paul E. Kaloostian, Patricia L. Zadnik, Ahmed J. Awad, Edward McCarthy, Jean Paul Wolinsky, Daniel M. Sciubba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Resection of metastatic pheochromocytomas may be complicated by transient postoperative neurological deficits due to hypotension. The authors report the first case of en bloc excision of a spinal pheochromocytoma with associated long-term hypertensive management off all medication. Interestingly, this is the first case of transient hypotension following en bloc resection of pheochromocytoma associated with temporary hypotension-associated neurological decline that resolved completely after correction of hypotension postoperatively. A 23-year-old man with a prior adrenalectomy for pheochromocytoma presented with focal thoracic pain. He had a known T-10 vertebral body lesion for which he received chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Imaging demonstrated increased destruction of the T-10 vertebral body, which was concerning for tumor growth. The patient underwent angiographic embolization followed by single-stage posterior en bloc vertebrectomy with placement of a cage and posterior instrumentation and fusion without event. However, approximately 24 hours after surgery, the patient's systolic blood pressure was consistently no higher than 70 mm Hg. During this time, he began suffering from severe bilateral lower-extremity weakness. His systolic blood pressure increased with dopamine, and his strength immediately improved. The patient's oral regimen of adrenergic blockade was stopped, and he recovered without event. Since that time, the patient has been symptom free and requires no antihypertensive medication. The role of en bloc resection for metastatic lesions of the spine is controversial but may be warranted in cases of metastatic pheochromocytoma. En bloc resection avoids intralesional tumor resection and thus may help prevent complications of hypertensive crisis associated with hormonal secretion and extensive blood loss, which are not uncommon with pheochromocytoma resection surgeries. Additionally, the role of en bloc spondylectomy in this setting may allow for metabolic treatment as patients with actively secreting tumors may no longer require antiadrenergic medications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)611-616
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery: Spine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2013


  • Cancer
  • En bloc
  • Metastasis
  • Oncology
  • Pheochromocytoma
  • Spine
  • Surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'En bloc resection of a pheochromocytoma metastatic to the spine for local tumor control and for treatment of chronic catecholamine release and related hypertension'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this