Nonrandomized, retrospective, comparative, and single-center trial.
The aim of this study is to compare the long-term clinical and radiographic results of thoracolumbar burst fractures in neurologically intact patients, treated surgically or nonsurgically with the aim to optimize their management.
Summary of Background Data.
There is an ongoing controversy regarding the treatment of thoracolumbar burst fractures (TLBF) (A3, A4) in neurologically intact patients. Surgical treatment as well as conservative treatment methods are advised to this specific group of patients, while contrasting results exist in the literature.
Forty-five neurologically intact patients with TLBF (A3 or A4) (2010–2016) were included. Twenty-one patients with a mean age of 34.3 and a mean follow-up period of 63.1 months were treated surgically with short segment posterior fixation (group 1), while 24 patients with a mean age of 45.7 and a mean follow-up period of 67.1 months were treated conservatively (group 2) with thoracolumbosacral orthesis.
At the final follow-up groups 1 and 2 had an average segmental kyphosis of 4.09°/11.65° (P = 0.027), an average loss of kyphosis of 2.04°/4.03° (P = 0.038), an average loss of anterior/posterior vertebral body height of %12.89/%2.84/%17.94/%7.62 (P = 0.027/ P = 0.03), a median JOA score of (16.6/16.75) (P = 0.198), a median ODI score of (11.7/12.1) (P = 0.25), a median VAS score of (1.9/2.3) (P = 0.3), SF-36 PCS of (56.74/56.67) (P = 0.25), SF-36 MCS of (55.47/55.5) (P = 0.3), mean durations of hospital stay of 9–11 days (P = 0.3), respectively.
While there is an ongoing controversy regarding the management of stable thoracolumbar burst fractures in neurologically intact patients in the literature, this study concluded that surgical management of stable thoracolumbar burst fractures in neurologically intact patients provided better radiolographic outcomes, despite the result, that the difference between surgically and nonsurgically treated patients in terms of clinical outcome parameters and quality of life was not statistically significant.
Level of Evidence: 3