Comparison of two Types of Surgery for Thoraco-Lumbar Burst Fractures: Combined Anterior and Posterior Stabilisation vs. Posterior Instrumentation Only
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This retrospective study compares clinical outcome following two different types of surgery for thoracolumbar burst fractures. Forty-six patients with thoracolumbar burst fractures causing encroachment of the spinal canal greater than 50% were operated on within 30 days performing either: combined anterior decompression and stabilisation and posterior stabilisation (Group 1) or posterior distraction and stabilisation using pedicle instrumentation (AO internal fixator) (Group 2). We evaluated: neurological status (Frankel Grade), spinal deformities, residual pain, and complications. The average follow-up was 6 years. There were no significant differences between the patients in both groups concerning age, sex, cause of injury and the presence of other severe injuries. Neurological dysfunction was present in 39% of all cases. Bony union occurred in all patients. Loss of reduction greater than 5 degrees and instrumentation failure occurred significantly more often in Group 2 compared to Group 1, but the kyphosis angle at late follow-up did not differ between groups, due to some degree of overcorrection initially after surgery in Group 2. The clinical outcome was similar in both groups, and all but one patient with neurological deficits improved by at least one Frankel grade.
Indirect decompression of the spinal canal by posterior distraction and short-segment stabilisation with AO internal fixator is considered appropriate treatment for the majority of unstable thoracolumbar burst fractures. This is a less extensive surgical procedure than a combined anterior and posterior approach.
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