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Classification-related approach in the surgical treatment of thoracolumbar fractures

Author(s): Lukas R | Sram J

Journal: Indian Journal of Orthopaedics
ISSN 0019-5413

Volume: 41;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 327;
Date: 2007;
Original page

Keywords: Fractures of thoracolumbar spine | fracture classification | surgical approach

Background: Advanced diagnostic tools, classification systems and accordingly selected surgical approaches are essential requirements for the prevention of failure of surgical treatment of thoracolumbar fractures. The present study is designed to evaluate the contribution of classification to the choice of a surgical approach using the current fracture classification systems. Materials and Methods: We studied prospectively a group of 64 patients (22 females, 42 males) of an average age of 43 years, all operated on for thoracolumbar fractures during the year 2001. The AO-ASIF classification was used preoperatively with all imaging studies (X-ray, computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)). When the damage was detected only in the anterior column (A type), an isolated anterior stabilization (n=22) was preferred. If the MRI study disclosed an injury in the posterior column, a posterior approach (n=20) using the internal fixator was chosen. Injuries involving the posterior column (B or C type) were classified additionally according to the load-sharing classification (LSC). If LSC gave six or more points, treatment was completed with an anterior fusion.. The combined postero-anterior procedure was carried out 22 times.. The minimum follow-up period was 22 months. Results: Neither implant failure and nor significant loss of correction were observed in patients treated with anterior or combined procedures. The average loss of correction (increase of kyphosis) in simple posterior stabilization was 3.1 degree. Conclusion: Complex fracture classification helps in the selection of the surgical approach and helps to decrease the chances of treatment failure.
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