Complete resection of hypervascular metastatic tumors is often complicated by massive intraoperative blood loss.

To assess the technical success and clinical effectiveness of transcatheter arterial embolization (TAE) of hypervascular metastatic tumors of long bones to reduce blood loss during orthopedic surgery.

From January 2000 to September 2009, 25 patients (M:F=13:12; mean age 58.3 years) were treated with TAE of metastatic bone tumors before elective, orthopedic surgery. In all cases, the indication for TAE was preoperative devascularization. Technical success, defined as obliteration of tumor staining to 70% or more, requirement for red blood cell transfusion within 24 h following surgery, and hematologic parameters, i.e. the hemoglobin, hematocrit, and erythrocyte counts before and after surgery, were obtained.

The technical success rate was 96% (24/25 patients). Gelatin sponge particles (n=21) or polyvinyl alcohol particles (n=4) were used as embolic materials. The mean amount of red blood cell transfusion within the 24 h following surgery was 1.91 units (range 0-6) in the 23 patients with technically successful TAE and who underwent surgery within 3 days after TAE. In 22 patients with technically successful TAE and available hematologic data, the mean gaps in the hemoglobin, hematocrit, and erythrocyte counts before and after operation were 1.22 g/dl, 4.07%, and 0.45 x 10(6)/mm(3), respectively.

Preoperative TAE is technically successful and clinically effective to minimize intraoperative and postoperative bleeding in patients with hypervascular metastasis to long bones.

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