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The morphological and biomechanical features of the thoracic spine, together with its close proximity to the spinal cord, set it apart from other spinal segments. Management of thoracic spine injuries consists of achieving a reduction and an immediate and long-lasting stabilization of the spine while constantly protecting the central and peripheral nervous system. The aim of this study was to determine the best treatment for surgical thoracic spine fractures.
Materials and methods
We studied the baseline characteristics of 68 patients admitted to our neurosurgical department for one or several thoracic spine fractures between 2008 and 2010. We analysed on this group of patient the surgical management, complications and functional outcomes. We detailed the 2-years radiological outcome on 50 patients (23months mean follow-up).
The majority of patients underwent an extensive posterior arthrodesis bridging, on average, 5.3 vertebrae. The median time between diagnosis and surgery was 2days and the median length of stay in hospital was 13.5days. About 94% of hooks and 80% of pedicle screws were considered stable. Mean values of reduction and correction loss were similar (about 4.5°). We concluded to the superiority of extensive procedures and of pedicle screws fixation for the reduction and the maintenance of the correction by the end of follow-up. Functional data indicated daily discomfort and moderate pain.
A prospective study comparing the different procedures and instrumentations is needed to better define guidelines for the management of thoracic spine injuries.
Level of evidence
Level IV.Le texte complet de cet article est disponible en PDF.
Keywords : Vertebral fracture, Traumatology, Spine surgery, Thoracic spine, Biomechanics