Functional Recovery Following Early Kyphoplasty Versus Conservative Management in Stable Thoracuolumbar Fractures in Parachute Jumpers: A Randomized Clinical Trial

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Abstract

Study Design:

A randomized clinical trial.

Objective:

To compare the functional recovery between early kyphoplasty and conservative care in paratroopers with stable thoracolumbar fractures.

Summary of Background Data:

Treatment of traumatic stable thoracolumbar fractures in young individuals is still a debate. Conservative management and kyphoplasty are options of therapy. But enough data are not available for supporting each.

Methods:

We included 70 paratroopers with stable thoracolumbar fractures (A1 and A2 classification according to AOSpine thoracolumbar spine injury classification system) presenting <60 days after trauma and hyperintensity in T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging. Old fractures and those requiring fixation were excluded. Patients were randomly assigned to 2 study groups to undergo percutaneous balloon kyphoplasty (n=34) or conservative care (n=36) by applying orthosis for 2 months. Patients were followed for 12 months and were evaluated clinically using visual analogue scale (VAS) and Oswestry disability index (ODI).

Results:

The baseline characteristics were comparable between 2 study groups. The VAS score and ODI decreased significantly in both study groups after 12 months of treatment. The VAS score was significantly lower in kyphoplasty group after the intervention (P<0.001), 1 month (P<0.001), 3 months (P<0.001), 6 months (P<0.001), and 12 months (P<0.001) after the intervention. In addition, the ODI was significantly lower after the intervention (P<0.001), 1 month (P<0.001), 3 months (P<0.001), 6 months (P<0.001), and 12 months (P<0.001) after the intervention. Kyphoplasty was associated with shorter duration of returning to parachuting (P<0.001) and shorter duration of absence from work (P<0.001).

Conclusions:

Early kyphoplasty in stable thoracolumbar fractures after parachute jumping is associated with less pain, better functional recovery, less days of absence from work, and shorter duration of returning to parachuting.

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