Circumferential Stabilization of the Thoracolumbar Junction Via Posterior-Only Approach for the Management of Burst Fractures

Juan C. Vicenty, Fanor M. Saavedra, Juan A. Vigo, Emil A. Pastrana


Objective: The management of thoracolumbar burst fractures often includes combined anterior/posterior approaches with prolonged operative time and complications. The transpedicular approach offers a posterior only approach with circumferential reconstruction and decompression. We aim to present the experience of a single center in the management of thoracolumbar burst fractures using a posterior-only approach for circumferential stabilization and report on this technique’s effectiveness in restoring the alignment of the thoracolumbar junction. Methods: A case review of the medical records of patients admitted to the adult neurosurgery service (from January 2011 through June 2014) with traumatic non-pathological thoracolumbar burst fractures and subsequently treated with a transpedicular corpectomy (including the placement of an expandable cage) was performed, retrospectively. Results: A total of 20 patients underwent a posterior transpedicular corpectomy consisting of anterior column reconstruction using an expandable cage with supplementary posterior fixation within 72 hours of injury. The average pre-operative canal compromise was 69%. The average pre-operative kyphotic angle was 21.6°. The average post-operative kyphotic angle was 5.15°, with an average correction of 16.45°. There were 11 patients with pre-operative neurological compromises, of which patients, 8 experienced variable degrees of recovery. The average operating time was 410.5 minutes (range, 240–550 min). The average blood loss was 880 mL (range, 650–1500). Three patients experienced complications during surgery; 1 patient died. Conclusion: The transpedicular approach for circumferential reconstruction and stabilization provides an alternative technique for the management of thoracolumbar fractures, having an acceptable risk and the associated lower morbidity of a posterioronly approach.


transpedicular; corpectomy; thoracolumbar; burst

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