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Orthopaedics & Traumatology: Surgery & Research
Sous presse. Epreuves corrigées par l'auteur. Disponible en ligne depuis le mercredi 13 février 2019
Doi : 10.1016/j.otsr.2018.11.019
Received : 19 May 2018 ;  accepted : 30 November 2018
Early versus delayed corpectomy in thoracic and lumbar spine trauma. A long-term clinical and radiological retrospective study

Pierre Grobost a, b, , Mehdi Boudissa a, Gaël Kerschbaumer a, Sébastien Ruatti a, Jérôme Tonetti a
a Orthopedic and trauma unit, Grenoble-Alpes University Hospital, 38000 Grenoble, France 
b Orthopedic spine unit, CMCR des Massues, 92, rue Edmond-Locard, 65005 Lyon, France 

Corresponding author at: Orthopedic spine unit, CMCR des Massues, 92, rue Edmond-Locard, 65005 Lyon, France.Orthopedic spine unit, CMCR des Massues92, rue Edmond-LocardLyon65005France
Summary and background data

Many authors have demonstrated the necessity of reconstruction of the anterior column in spinal trauma with vertebral body collapse or nonunion. There is no publication comparing the result depending on the time between trauma and anterior reconstruction of the vertebral body.


To compare long-term clinical and radiological results between early and late anterior vertebral body reconstruction with expandable cages in patients with thoracic and lumbar spine trauma.


An early anterior reconstruction of thoracolumbar fractures provides better clinical and radiological outcomes than a delayed one.

Materials and methods

A retrospective clinical study was carried out with 44 consecutive patients with injuries of the thoracic and lumbar spine treated operatively with combined posterior stabilization and anterior reconstruction with an expandable implant for vertebral body replacement. All patients were evaluated with EOS full-spine radiograph and CT-scan. The mean follow-up was 5.1 years. Clinical result was evaluated with ODI, SF12, VAS back pain, return to work and sport. Radiological result was evaluated with regional kyphosis angle (RKA) evolution, fusion rate and sagittal alignment. In Group A, twenty-nine patients underwent an early anterior reconstruction within 3 weeks after trauma. The indication of vertebral body reconstruction was placed after post-operative CT-scan for a Mc Cormack score7. In Group B, fifteen patients underwent a late anterior reconstruction after diagnosis of nonunion by the combination of pain and CT-scan after 1 year.


Clinical scores and scales were significantly better for patients operated early in Group A. Return to work and activities were significantly more important in Group A too. The mean RKA correction with posterior reduction was 9.3°. The secondary anterior approach permit to reduce 2.9° more. At last follow-up, the loss of reduction was 4.3°. There was no significant difference between groups for those results. No difference in fusion rate was observed between groups. There was no significant difference between groups in the sagittal alignment excepted for SVA that was higher for Group B while remaining under a normal value of 50mm.


Early anterior vertebral body reconstruction for fractures gives better clinical results than delayed reconstruction for patients with diagnosis of nonunion in patients with thoracic and lumbar spine trauma. Moreover, the shorter the time from trauma to operation, the better the sagittal reduction of kyphosis. The use of expandable titanium cage is a good way to perform and maintain this reduction.

Level of evidence

IV, retrospective study.

The full text of this article is available in PDF format.

Keywords : Thoracolumbar fracture, Vertebral Body Replacement, Anterior approach, Corpectomy, Functional outcome

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