The risk of vertebral fracture is increased 4-fold in patients with ankylosing spondylitis (AS). Diagnostic challenges and the vulnerability associated with AS combine to generate high morbidity and mortality rates. The objective of this study was to assess the outcome of percutaneous thoraco-lumbar fracture surgery in patients with AS, in terms of quality of life, fracture healing, and complications.
Percutaneous surgery used to treat thoraco-lumbar fractures in patients with AS reliably provides fracture healing, preserves self-sufficiency, and minimises post-operative complications.
Two centres included 31 patients with AS who were managed by percutaneous surgery for thoraco-lumbar fractures in 2013–2015. The data were reviewed retrospectively, although admission data were collected prospectively. Clinical outcomes were assessed by comparing the values at baseline and last follow-up of three variables: the Parker score, the visual analogue scale (VAS) pain score, and the EuroQol five dimensions (EQ-5D) quality-of-life score. Computed tomography was performed 1 year after surgery to evaluate bone healing, screw position, and implant loosening. Intra- and post-operative complications were recorded.
The 31 patients had a mean age at surgery of 75.1 years, a mean follow-up of 35.6 months, and a minimum follow-up of 12 months. Three patients died during follow-up. Mean hospital stay duration was 6 days. Cemented screw fixation was used in 18 patients. At last follow-up, all patients had recovered their self-sufficiency; the mean Parker score was 7.14, compared to 6.73 at baseline, the mean VAS pain score was 1.8, and the mean EQ-5D score decrease versus baseline was 0.07 (P=0.02). Bone healing was consistently achieved. Loosening of an uncemented pedicle screw was noted in 1 patient. Of the 228 screws implanted, 6 (2.6%) were improperly positioned, including 1 within the spinal canal in a patient free of neurological manifestations. Asymptomatic cement leakage was noted in 2 patients.
Percutaneous fixation of thoraco-lumbar fractures in patients with AS is a reliable method that produces a high healing rate and allows prompt patient mobilisation with preservation of self-sufficiency. The post-operative complication rate is low.
Level of evidence
IV, retrospective observational study.Le texte complet de cet article est disponible en PDF.
Keywords : Percutaneous, Ankylosing spondylitis, Thoraco-lumbar vertebral fracture