A technical report of thoracolumbar fractures managed by percutaneous external pedicular fixation and intracorporeal bone grafting.
To develop a new technique by combining simplified percutaneous external pedicular fixator with intracorporeal bone grafting to treat thoracolumbar fractures and assess its technical safety and clinical efficacy.
Summary of Background Data.
For surgical treatment of thoracolumbar fractures, the classical techniques are beneficial in decompression, restoration, fixation, and graft fusion, but they are also hugely invasive procedures. The earlier external spinal fixation procedures are good at indirect restoration, decompression, and elastic fixation of spinal fracture. However, they are limited by remains of a large external frame and inability of vertebral reconstruct. Therefore, the minimally invasive techniques combining simplified percutaneous external pedicular fixation and intracorporeal bone grafting might be a useful alternative.
There were 50 consecutive patients who had thoracolumbar fractures with or without associated incomplete neurologic deficit. They underwent percutaneous external pedicle fixation and intracorporeal bone grafting surgery within 7 days of admission, had their implants removed after 3 months, and were prospectively followed for at least 12 months. American Spine Injury Association grading, spinal canal encroachment, spinal Cobb angle, and vertebral body height were calculated before and after surgery to assess clinical outcome.
A minimum of 12-month follow-up was achieved in 50 patients. The average operative time was 90 minutes (range, 50–160 minutes). The mean bone graft volume was 4.8 cm3 (range, 3.2–10.6 cm3). The intraoperative mean blood loss was 100 mL (range, 50–180 mL). Forty-two patients all had at least one American Spine Injury Association grade neurologic improvement on final follow-up observation; there were no surgery-related complications. The mean anterior height of vertebral body was 53.2% (range 25%–78%) before surgery, 93.6% (range 78%–104%) after surgery, and 94% (range 79%–103%) at final follow-up. The preoperative Cobb angle of the primary curve averaged 30.7° (range 8°–67°), and corrected to 4.5° (range 0°–12.0°) immediately after surgery, There were statistically significant (P < 0.01) among them before and after operation. There was no instrumentation failure or measurable loss of sagittal curve and vertebral height correction in any cases.
The new technique by combination of percutaneous external transpedicular fixation and transpedicular bone grafting is a feasible, safe, useful, efficient, and minimally invasive method to treat thoracolumbar fractures. It is a reasonable alternative method to other minimally invasive techniques of surgical management of the thoracolumbar fractures.