Is Short Same-Segment Fixation Really Better than Short-Segment Posterior Fixation in the Treatment of Thoracolumbar Fractures?

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Study Design.A retrospective study.Objective.This retrospective study assessed whether short same-segment fixation (SSSF) is better than short-segment posterior fixation (SSPF) for reducing thoracolumbar fractures, improving the kyphosis angle, maintaining vertebral height, or reducing the incidence of broken screws.Summary of Background Data.In clinical practice, single-segment thoracolumbar fractures were then more likely to be treated with SSPF that included pedicle fixation at the level of the fracture (short same-segment fixation, or SSSF). Whether SSSF could really achieve vertebral height recovery, improve the kyphosis, reduce postoperative kyphosis loss, and reduce the incidence of internal fixation failure better than SSPF.Methods.Patients treated with SSPF or SSSF at our institution during 2006 to 2014 were reviewed. Effects of thoracolumbar fracture reduction, improved kyphosis angle, and maintaining vertebral height were compared between groups. Logistic regression analysis was used to identify factors related to instrumentation breakage and correlation analysis to assess possible relations between loss of correction of the kyphosis angle (LAWAC) and other factors.Results.Altogether, 130 patients were enrolled (53 SSPF, 77 SSSF). SSPF (22F, 31M) group's mean (range) age was 37.7 (16–60) years, and the follow-up was 26.2 (9–120) months. SSSF (27F, 50M) group's mean (range) age was 39.3 (17–61) years, and the follow-up was 23.2 (9–60) months. All patients underwent either internal fixation or screw repair. Immediately postoperatively, restoration after middle vertebral fractures was better in SSSF patients than in SSPF patients (P = 0.003), with no differences in other fracture-related factors (P > 0.05). Only LAWAC was significantly associated with instrumentation breakage (P < 0.05). Also, immediately postoperatively, the anterior/posterior vertebral heights ratio was negatively related to LAWAC.Conclusion.Pedicle fixation of the fracture did not obtain better recovery of anterior or posterior vertebral heights nor did it improve AWA restoration. There was no significant difference in LAWAC between groups or in the incidence of broken screws. LAWAC may increase the incidence of broken screws.Level of Evidence: 4

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