Short Segment Fixation Versus Short Segment Fixation With Pedicle Screws at the Fracture Level for Thoracolumbar Burst Fracture

DOI: 10.2478/amma-2014-0011

Objective: The most prevailing surgical procedure in the treatment of thoracolumbar burst fractures, Short Segment Fixation (SSF), is often followed by loss of correction or hardware failure which may be significant enough to require another surgical intervention. In order to take advantage of its benefits but to avoid or diminish the risk and impact of associated drawbacks, some other alternatives have been lately developed among which we refer to short segment fixation with intermediate screws (SSF+IS). This article provides a comparative picture over the effectiveness of the two above-mentioned surgical treatments, focusing on their potential to prevent the loss of correction.

Methods: After a systematic literature review over research papers published between 2000 and 2012, 14 articles which met the criteria were included in the meta-analysis. The relevant data extracted and compared for each subgroup of patients treated either with SSF or SSF+IS, were the weighted averages for the pre-operative, post-operative and last follow up kyphosis angles. We also considered common associated complications, operation time, and blood loss values for each surgical subgroups.
Results: The values for the loss of correction at the last follow-up were: 5.5° for SS and 7.4° for SSF+IS, which didn’t prove to be statistically different. With reference to other parameters, such as operation time, blood loss and correction attainment, the values did not present statistically significant differences, either. Regarding complications, we noticed that both SSF and SSF+IS display a similar incidence for hardware failure, screw breakages, superficial infections, deep venous thrombosis.
Conclusions: This paper concludes that, adding one or two screws at the fractured vertebra level (SSF+IS) does not bring forth a significant improvement compared to the traditional approach (SSF). Apparently, the blood loss depends mostly on the approach type (open or percutaneous) and less on the surgery type.

Full text: PDF