BACKGROUND: The treatment of unstable thoracolumbar burst fractures with short-segment posterior spinal instrumentation without anterior column reconstruction is associated with a high rate of screw breakage and progressive loss of reduction. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the functional, neurologic, and radiographic results following transpedicular, balloon-assisted fracture reduction with anterior column reconstruction with use of calcium phosphate bone cement combined with short-segment posterior instrumentation and a laminectomy.
METHODS: A consecutive series of thirty-eight patients with an unstable thoracolumbar burst fracture with or without neurologic deficit were managed with transpedicular, balloon-assisted fracture reduction, calcium phosphate bone cement reconstruction, and short-segment spinal instrumentation from 2002 to 2005. Twenty-eight of the thirty-eight patients were followed for a minimum of two years. Demographic data, neurologic function, segmental kyphosis, the fracture severity score, canal compromise, the Short Form-36 score, the Oswestry Disability Index score, and treatment-related complications were evaluated prospectively.
RESULTS: All thirteen patients with incomplete neurologic deficits had improvement by at least one Frankel grade. The mean kyphotic angulation improved from 17° preoperatively to 7° at the time of the latest follow-up, and the loss of vertebral body height improved from a mean of 42% preoperatively to 14% at the time of the latest follow-up. Screw breakage occurred in two patients, and pseudarthrosis occurred in one patient.
CONCLUSIONS: The present study demonstrates that excellent reduction of unstable thoracolumbar burst fractures with and without associated neurologic deficits can be maintained with use of short-segment instrumentation and a transpedicular balloon-assisted reduction combined with anterior column reconstruction with calcium phosphate bone cement performed through a single posterior incision. The resultant circumferential stabilization combined with a decompressive laminectomy led to maintained or improved neurologic function in all patients with neurologic deficits, with a low rate of instrumentation failure and loss of correction.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions to Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.
ORIGINAL ABSTRACT CITATION: “Thoracolumbar Burst Fractures Treated with Posterior Decompression and Pedicle Screw Instrumentation Supplemented with Balloon-Assisted Vertebroplasty and Calcium Phosphate Reconstruction” (2009;91:20-8).
Investigation performed at Memorial Hermann Hospital, Houston, Texas
The original scientific article in which the surgical technique was presented was published in JBJS Vol. 91 -A, pp. 20-8, January 2009
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DISCLOSURE: In support of their research for or preparation of this work, one or more of the authors received, in any one year, outside funding or grants in excess of $10,000 from the Spine Research Foundation. Neither they nor a member of their immediate families received payments or other benefits or a commitment or agreement to provide such benefits from a commercial entity. Commercial entities (DePuy Spine, Medtronic, and Synthes) paid or directed in any one year, or agreed to pay or direct, benefits in excess of $10,000 to a research fund, foundation, division, center, clinical practice, or other charitable or nonprofit organization with which one or more of the authors, or a member of his or her immediate family, is affiliated or associated.
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