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Single-Level Fixation of Flexion Distraction Injuries

Finkelstein, Joel A.*‡; Wai, Eugene K.; Jackson, Steven Shlomo; Ahn, Henry; Brighton-Knight, Michael§

Original Contributions

Flexion distraction injuries of the thoracic and lumbar spine can be stabilized with a short construct spanning one motion segment. This surgical technique has not been well accepted because of the paucity of published outcomes of patients treated in this manner. The current study is a cohort of patients who underwent a standardized posterior open reduction and single-level fixation for this injury pattern. Independent observation prospectively followed the cohort for a minimum of 20 months with functional and radiologic outcomes determined. A significant (p < 0.0001) correction of deformity was achieved, from a mean preoperative kyphosis of 10.1° to a mean postoperative lordosis of 0.9°. No loss of correction occurred. The mean Oswestry score was 11.5, with 88% of patients having minimal disability. This prospective study demonstrates the efficacy of posterior open reduction and single-level fixation of flexion distraction injuries.

Divisions of *Orthopaedic Surgery and †Orthopaedics, Sunnybrook and Women's College Health Sciences Center; ‡Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; and §Austin & Repatriation Medical Center, Heidelberg, Australia

Received December 31, 2002; accepted February 21, 2003.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. Joel A. Finkelstein, Sunnybrook and Women's Health Sciences Center, 2075 Bayview Ave, Rm MG 361, Toronto, Ontario M4N 3N5, Canada. E-mail:

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.