Carlo Ambrogio Logroscino, Luca Proietti, Francesco Ciro Tamburrelli

June 2009, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 75 - 81 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-009-0995-8

First Online: 28 April 2009

Originally aimed at treating degenerative syndromes of the lumbar spine, percutaneous minimally invasive posterior fixation is nowadays even more frequently used to treat some thoracolumbar fractures. According to the modern principles of saving segment of motion, a short implant (one level above and one level below the injured vertebra) is generally used to stabilise the injured spine. Although the authors generally use a short percutaneous fixation in treating thoracolumbar fractures with good results, they observed some cases in which the high fragmentation of the vertebral body and the presence of other associated diseases (co-morbidities) did not recommend the use of a short construct. The authors identified nine cases, in which a long implant (two levels above and two levels below the injured vertebra) was performed by a percutaneous minimally invasive approach. Seven patients (five males/two females) were affected by thoracolumbar fractures. T12 vertebra was involved in three cases, L1 in two cases, T10 and L2 in one case, respectively. Two fractures were classified as type A 3.1, two as A 3.2, two as A 3.3 and one as B 2.3, according to Magerl. In the present series, there were also two patients affected by a severe osteolysis of the spine (T9 and T12) due to tumoral localisation. All patients operated on with long instrumentation had a good outcome with prompt and uneventful clinical recovery. At the 1-year follow-up, all patients except one, who died 11 months after the operation, did not show any radiologic signs of mobilisation or failure of the implant. Based on the results of the present series, the long percutaneous fixation seems to represent an effective and safe system to treat particular cases of vertebral lesions. In conclusion, the authors believe that a long implant might be an alternative surgical method compared to more aggressive or demanding procedures, which in a few patients could represent an overtreatment.

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