Minimally invasive stabilization of thoracic and lumbar fractures without neurologic involvement is becoming a more frequent alternative to open fusion and conservative treatment. The authors analyzed the complication rate and limits of this technique in a consecutive series of 99 patients (127 thoracolumbar vertebral fractures) who underwent this technique between May 2005 and November 2009. Eighty-three patients had only spine injuries, whereas 16 had polytrauma injuries (mean Injury Severity Score, 25.2). In these 16 patients, percutaneous fixation was performed as a damage control procedure. The most frequent construct was monosegmental: 1 level above and 1 level below the fractured vertebra. In the remaining 21 patients, multilevel construction was performed for multiple injuries. Complications were analyzed according to the period of onset (intra- and postoperative) and the severity (major and minor). Twelve (12%) complications were recorded: 4 (4%) were intraoperative, 6 (6%) were early postoperative, and 2 (2%) were late postoperative; 4 (4%) were minor and 8 (8%) were major. Mean follow-up was 52 months (range; 36-90 months). All patients except 1 were considered healed after 6-month follow-up. The failed patient had an initial kyphosis greater than 20°, and a posterior open reduction and fusion would have been more appropriate. Minimally invasive stabilization of selected spine injuries is a safe technique with a low complication rate. The main goal of this approach is a fast recovery time, so any complication leading to an extended length of stay should be considered severe. An adequate learning curve is important to minimize complications.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine