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EFORT Open Rev. 2018 Nov 19;3(11):604-613. doi: 10.1302/2058-5241.3.170026. eCollection 2018 Nov.

Percutaneous fixation of thoracolumbar vertebral fractures.

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Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Bellevue Medical Center University Hospital, Faculty of Medicine, Saint Joseph University, Lebanon.
Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Spine Unit, Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CHUM), Canada.
Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Groupe Hospitalier Paris Saint Joseph, France.


Surgical treatment of patients with thoracolumbar vertebral fracture without neurological deficit is still controversial.Management of vertebral fracture with percutaneous fixation was first reported in 2004.Advantages of percutaneous fixation are: less tissue dissection; decreased post-operative pain; decreased bleeding and operative time (depending on the steep learning curve); better screw positioning with fluoroscopy compared with an open freehand technique; and a decreased infection rate.The limitations of percutaneous fixation of vertebral fractures include increased radiation exposure to the patient and the surgeon, together with the steep learning curve for this technique.Adding a screw at the level of the fractured vertebra has the advantages of incorporating fewer motion segments with less operative time and bleeding. This also increases the axial, sagittal and torsional stiffness of the construct.Percutaneous fixation alone without grafting is sufficient for treating type A and B1 (AO classification) thoracolumbar fractures with satisfactory results concerning kyphosis reduction when compared with open instrumentation and fusion and with open fixation.Type C and B2 fractures (ligamentous injuries) should undergo fusion since the ligamentous healing is mechanically weak, increasing the risk of instability.This review offers a detailed description of percutaneous screw insertion and discusses the advantages and disadvantages. Cite this article: EFORT Open Rev 2018;3:604-613. DOI: 10.1302/2058-5241.3.170026.


fracture stability; percutaneous fixation; thoracolumbar fractures

Conflict of interest statement

ICMJE Conflict of interest statement: G. Riouallon declares payment for speaking and/or teaching and travel costs from Medtronic, activity outside the submitted work.

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