Radiological Results and Clinical Patient Outcome After Implantation of a Hydraulic Expandable Vertebral Body Replacement following Traumatic Vertebral Fractures in the Thoracic and Lumbar Spine: A 3-Year Follow-Up

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Study Design.

A prospective monocentric study.


The aim of the current study was the analysis of patient outcome and radiological results 3 years after implantation of a hydraulic expandable vertebral body replacement (VBR) system.

Summary of Background Data.

Around 70% to 90% of all traumatic spinal fractures are located in the thoracic and lumbar spine. Dorso-ventral stabilization is a frequently used procedure in traumatic vertebral body fracture treatment. VBR systems can be used to bridge bony defects. In the current study, a new VBR expanded by water pressure with adjustable endplates is used.


All patients who suffered a singular traumatic fracture to a thoracic or lumbar vertebral body (Th 5-L 5) in the period from November 2009 to December 2010 and (i) underwent dorsal instrumentation and (ii) afterwards received the implantation of a hydraulic VBR were included in this study. The clinical outcome (visual analogue scale [VAS] spine score, questionnaire) and radiological findings (sagittal angle, implant subsidence, and implant position) 3 years after implantation were analyzed.


The follow-up was successful for n = 47 patients (follow-up rate: 89%). Most of the patients (n = 40) were “generally/very satisfied” with their outcome. The mean rating of the VAS spine score was 65.2 ± 23.1 (range: 20.5–100.0). The analysis of the radiological data showed an average subsidence of the implants of 1.1 ± 1.2 mm (range 0.0–5.0 mm). After the initial operation, the local sagittal angle remained stable in the follow-up 3 years later both for the thoracic spine and lumbar spine. Furthermore, no change in the implant's position was observed.


The implantation of a hydraulically expandable VBR allows a permanent stable fixation after traumatic fractures of the thoracic and lumbar spine.


Level of Evidence: 2

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