Changbao Chen, Gongyi Lv, Baoshan Xu, Xiaolin Zhang, Xinlong Ma

June 2014, Volume 23, Issue 7, pp 1548 - 1557 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-014-3374-z

First Online: 22 May 2014


Thoracolumbar burst fractures treated with short-segment posterior instrumentation without anterior column support is associated with a high incidence of implant failure and correction loss. This study was designed to evaluate the clinical and radiographic results following posterior short-segment instrumentation and limited segmental decompression supplemented with vertebroplasty with calcium sulphate and intermediate screws for patients with severe thoracolumbar burst fractures.


Twenty-eight patients with thoracolumbar burst fractures of LSC point 7 or more underwent this procedure. The average follow-up was 27.5 months. Demographic data, radiographic parameters, neurologic function, clinical outcomes and treatment-related complications were prospectively evaluated.


Loss of vertebral body height and segmental kyphosis was 55.3 % and 20.2° before surgery, which significantly improved to 12.2 % and 5.4° at the final follow-up, respectively. Loss of kyphosis correction was 2.2°. The preoperative canal encroachment was 49 % that significantly improved to 8.8 %. The preoperative pain and function level showed a mean VAS score of 9.2 and ODI of 89.9 % that improved to 1.4 and 12.9 % at the final follow-up, respectively. No implant failure was observed in this series, and cement leakage occurred in two cases without clinical implications.


Excellent reduction and maintenance of thoracolumbar burst fractures can be achieved with short-segment pedicle instrumentation supplemented with anterior column reconstruction and intermediate screws. The resultant circumferential stabilization combined with a limited segmental decompression resulted in improved neurologic function and satisfactory clinical outcomes, with a low incidence of implant failure and progressive deformity.

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