The spread of carcinoma to the vertebral bodies has been studied by the long vertebral slice technique. Vertebral secondaries were found in one third of all patients with carcinoma, and in almost one half of those dying with distant metastases. Haematogenous dissemination and direct lymphatic spread both appeared to produce vertebral metastases. Radiology and less effective investigation of the skeleton at necropsy underestimate the incidence of bony metastases. This method is recommended as an easy and rapid one of examining the bone marrow, and gives a good indication of the presence of metastases in the whole of the skeletal system.
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