Treatment of thoracolumbar burst fractures : short-segment pedicle instrumentation versus kyphoplasty

Published online: Dec 27 2013

Lei ZHANG, Jun ZOU, Minfeng GAN, Jinhui SHI, Jigang LI, Huilin YANG

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, The First Affiliated Hospital of SooChow University, JiangSu, China


The management of amyelic thoracolumbar burst fractures remains controversial. In this study, we compared the clinical efficacy of percutaneous kyphoplasty (PKP) and short-segment pedicle instrumentation (SSPI). Twenty-three patients were treated with PKP, and 25 patients with SSPI. They all presented with Type A3 amyelic thoracolumbar fractures. Clinical outcomes were evaluated by a Visual Analog Scale (VAS) and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) preoperatively, postoperatively, and at two years follow-up. Radiographic data including the anterior and posterior vertebral body height, kyphotic angle, as well as spinal canal compromise was also evaluated. The patients in both groups were similar regarding age, bone mineral density (BMD), follow-up period, severity of the deformity and fracture. Blood loss, operation time, and bed-rest time were less in the PKP group. VAS, ODI score improved more rapidly after surgery in the PKP group. No significant difference was found in VAS and ODI scores between the two groups at final follow-up (p > 0.05). Meanwhile, the height of anterior vertebrae (Ha), the height of posterior vertebrae (Hp) and the kyphosis angle showed significant improvement in each group (p < 0.05). The postoperative improvement in spinal canal compromise was not statistically significant in the PKP group (p > 0.05) ; there was a significant improvement in the SSPI group (p < 0.05). Moreover, these postoperative radiographic assessments showed significant differences between the two groups regarding the improvement of canal compromise (p < 0.05). At final followup, remodeling of spinal canal compromise was detected in both groups. Conclusion : Both PKP and SSPI appeared as effective and reliable operative techniques for selected amyelic thoracolumbar fractures in the short-term. PKP had a significantly smaller blood loss and shorter bed-rest time, but SSPI provided a better reduction. Long-time studies should be conducted to support these clinical outcomes.