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Background context. Thoracolumbar fractures represent a large number of spine injuries in adults. Such fractures are a result of traumatic accidents with high-energy impacts, such as falls from height or following motor vehicle accidents, often resulting in some degree of neurological deficit.
Purpose. To report a total of 20 cases of thoracolumbar fractures in young adults with various neurological manifestations. The majority had indications for transpedicular fixation.
Study Design. Series of 20 cases and review of the literature.
Patient Sample. A series of 20 patients with a history of falling from a height or after motor vehicle accidents (RTA) with complicated fractures at the level of the thoracolumbar vertebrae which present with neurological deficits.
Methods. We report here on a total of 20 patients with a history of falls from height or following RTA. Patients presented to the hospital complaining of back and abdominal pain. Fractures at the thoracolumbar vertebral level were confirmed with imaging studies revealing post-traumatic spinal deformities. All cases were initially considered for conservative medical treatment. However, unstable complicated cases with bone fragment migration as well as spinal canal compression were deemed candidates for surgical intervention via posterior spinal fusion with transpedicular screw fixation.
Written informed consent was gathered from all patients. Detailed history, clinical examination, as well as X-ray, computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging of the dorsolumbar spine were obtained in all cases. Neurological status was assessed using the Frankel grading for spinal cord injury.
Results. The patients tolerated the operations without complications and remained in stable postoperative condition.
Conclusion. Surgical treatments via transpedicular fixation are extremely efficient for treating unstable and complicated thoracolumbar spinal fractures. Nevertheless, conservative medical treatment is still of high value and should be considered as the first treatment option, especially in stable cases. The patients who underwent surgery showed excellent outcomes and improvement of neurological deficits. The surgical procedure preferred in the present study was the posterior spinal fusion with pedicle screw fixation.