European Spine Journal

, Volume 16, Issue 5, pp 579–587 | Cite as

Timing of thoracic and lumbar fracture fixation in spinal injuries: a systematic review of neurological and clinical outcome

  • Jozef Paulus Henricus Johannes Rutges
  • F. Cumhur Oner
  • Luke Peter Hendrik Leenen


A systematic review of all available evidence on the timing of surgical fixation for thoracic and lumbar fractures with respect to clinical and neurological outcome was designed. The purpose of this review is to clarify some of the controversy about the timing of surgical fracture fixation in spinal trauma. Better neurological outcome, shorter hospital stay and fewer complications have been reported after early fracture fixation. But there are also studies showing no difference in neurological outcome when compared to late treatment. Mortality is another controversial point since a recent report of higher mortality in early treated patients. A systematic review of the literature was preformed. Ten articles were included. Early fracture fixation is associated with less complications, shorter hospital and ICU stay. The effect of early treatment on the neurological outcome remains unclear due to the contradictory results of the included studies. Early thoracic and lumbar fracture fixation results in improvement of clinical outcome, but the effect on neurological outcome remains controversial.


Review Spinal fractures Timing Surgical fixation Outcome and trauma 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jozef Paulus Henricus Johannes Rutges
    • 1
  • F. Cumhur Oner
    • 1
  • Luke Peter Hendrik Leenen
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Orthopaedic SurgeryUniversity Medical Centre UtrechtUtrechtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of SurgeryUniversity Medical Centre UtrechtUtrechtThe Netherlands

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