Surgical approaches for the correction of unstable thoracolumbar burst fractures: a retrospective analysis of treatment outcomes.


Journal Article

The authors retrospectively studied 49 nonparaplegic patients who sustained acute unstable thoracolumbar burst fractures. All patients underwent surgical treatment and were followed for an average of 27 months. All but one patient achieved solid radiographic fusion. Three treatment groups were studied: the first group of 16 patients underwent anterior decompression and fusion with instrumentation; the second group of 27 patients underwent posterior decompression and fusion; and the third group of six patients had combined anterior-posterior surgery. Prior to surgical intervention, these groups were compared and found to be similar in age, gender, level of injury, percentage of canal compromise, neurological function, and kyphosis. Patients treated with posterior surgery had a statistically significant diminution in operative time and blood loss and number of units transfused. There were no significant intergroup differences when considering postoperative kyphotic correction, neurological function, pain assessment, or the ability to return to work. Posterior surgery was found to be as effective as anterior or anterior-posterior surgery when treating unstable thoracolumbar burst fractures. Posterior surgery, however, takes the least time, causes the least blood loss, and is the least expensive of the three procedures.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Danisa, OA; Shaffrey, CI; Jane, JA; Whitehill, R; Wang, GJ; Szabo, TA; Hansen, CA; Shaffrey, ME; Chan, DP

Published Date

  • December 1995

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 83 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 977 - 983

PubMed ID

  • 7490641

Pubmed Central ID

  • 7490641

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-3085

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.3171/jns.1995.83.6.0977


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States