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Thoracoscopic interbody fusion with percutaneous posterior stabilization for thoracic and thoracolumbar injuries


Background context

Traumatic thoracolumbar discoligamentous injuries and partial burst fractures are commonly managed through posterior-only stabilization. Many cases present later with failure of posterior implant and progressive kyphotic deformities that necessitates major surgeries. Anterior interbody fusion saves the patients unnecessary long-segment fixation and provides a stable definitive solution for the injured segment.


The purpose of this study is to assess the clinical and radiographic outcomes of combined minimal invasive short-segment posterior percutaneous instrumentation and anterior thoracoscopic-assisted fusion in thoracolumbar partial burst fractures or discoligamentous injuries.

Study design

Prospective observational study.

Patient sample

Thirty patients with acute thoracic or thoracolumbar injuries operated upon between December 2007 and January 2009.

Outcome measures

Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), clinical and neurological examination for clinical assessment. Plain X-ray for radiological evaluation.


Preoperative evaluation included clinical and neurological examination, plain X-rays, computed tomography (CT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Posterior short-segment percutaneous stabilization plus anterior thoracoscopically assisted fusion in prone position were done. The minimum follow-up period was 2 years (range 24–48 months).


The mean age was 44 years. The commonest affected segment was between T10 and L1 (22 patients, 73 %). The mean total operative time was 103 min. The mean operative blood loss was 444 ml. Interbody fusion cage was used in 28 patients while iliac graft in two cases. Fusion rate at the final follow-up was 97 % (29 patients); one patient did not show definitive fusion although he was clinically satisfied. The mean final follow-up ODI was 12 %. The mean preoperative kyphosis angle was 22° improved to 6.5° postoperatively and was 7.5° at final follow-up. There were no major intraoperative or postoperative complications.


Combined anterior thoracoscopic fusion and short-segment posterior percutaneous instrumentation showed good clinical and radiographic outcomes in cases of thoracolumbar injuries through limiting the instrumented levels and preventing progress of posttraumatic kyphosis.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Ahmed Shawky.

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Shawky, A., El-Meshtawy, M. & Boehm, H. Thoracoscopic interbody fusion with percutaneous posterior stabilization for thoracic and thoracolumbar injuries. Eur Orthop Traumatol 5, 299–303 (2014).

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  • Thoracolumbar fractures
  • Thoracoscopy
  • Thoracoscopic interbody fusion
  • Minimal-invasive spine surgery