In management of traumatic thoracolumbar burst fractures, short-segment pedicle screw fixation with balloon-assisted endplate reduction (BAER) and cement injection is a safe, feasible, and effective technique to maintain radiological alignment with minimum spinal segments involved. However, 20% of patients report daily discomfort despite good spinal alignment and fusion after this technique. This study provides clinical, radiological, and patient-reported outcomes after a minimum 13 years of follow-up.
Eighteen patients were invited at the outpatient clinic for clinical/radiological examinations. The cohort (originally 20 patients) was treated 13-14 years earlier with pedicle screw fixation, BAER, and cement injection for traumatic thoracolumbar burst fractures. Patient-reported outcome measures were obtained at time of examinations. Current data were compared with data obtained at 6 years of follow-up.
Seventeen patients (median age 50; range 32-80) cooperated. No/minimal back pain was reported by 15 patients, and 12 patients returned to their previous heavy labor work. Median visual analog score of health (80%; 50-100%) was similar to results at 6 years (80%; 60-100% p = 0.259). An Oswestry Disability Index score of less than 20% (reflecting minimal disability) was reported by 14 patients, compared with 15 patients at 6 years of follow-up. No significant differences were found in wedge or Cobb angle between the time points. Intravertebral cement resorption was not observed.
Results from this study suggest that, 13 years after pedicle screw fixation with BAER and cement injection for traumatic thoracolumbar burst fractures, functional performance, pain and radiological outcomes of the current cohort were stable or had slightly improved. These slides can be retrieved under Electronic Supplementary Material.