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Care of polytrauma patients is complex and requires that a particular treatment sequence be followed during what is typically a short period of time. Early, temporary stabilization of injuries (damage control orthopedics [DCO]) is a validated strategy for the care of polytrauma patients. Application of this concept to spinal fractures has also led to good outcomes for patients. The recent development of percutaneous thoracolumbar fixation could improve the initial care of these vulnerable patients even more. The purpose of this study was to evaluate preliminary results in a series of polytrauma patients presenting with thoracolumbar fractures without neurological deficits who were treated according to DCO principles using early percutaneous fixation.
Materials and methods
All severe polytrauma patients admitted with a thoracic and/or lumbar spine fracture without neurological deficit were included in this prospective study. The care was standardized according to the degree of urgency of the initial injuries, with percutaneous spinal fixation being performed as early as feasible. The outcomes were evaluated using clinical parameters (duration of stay in intensive care unit, surgical data, blood loss) and radiographic parameters measured during a systematic postoperative CT scan (traumatic deformity, placement of pedicle screws, fusion rate). If needed, an anterior intervertebral graft was performed during a secondary procedure.
In all, 10 patients (average age of 40years) were included, corresponding to 18 vertebral fractures. During the initial assessment, at least one peripheral bone fracture was found in 90% of cases and at least one organ was injured in all patients (thoracic in 80% of cases, cerebral in 50%, facial area in 40% and abdominal-pelvis in 30%). The average time elapsed between admission and spine surgery was 4days (80% of cases before day 7). There were no cases of deep infection in any of the patients. An additional anterior procedure was needed in three patients within 1month of the initial surgery.
The strategy for treating thoracolumbar fractures in polytrauma patients is still not widely accepted. The presence of associated lesions could make it difficult to perform conventional spine surgery early on. Development of percutaneous techniques that reduce perioperative morbidity seems to be an alternative approach well-suited to DCO, as long as there are no neurological deficits. However, a secondary evaluation of the anterior spine is essential to determining if an anterior graft remains needed.
Level of evidence
Level IV.Le texte complet de cet article est disponible en PDF.
Keywords : Polytrauma, Percutaneous surgery, Thoracolumbar fractures, Minimally invasive