A retrospective study.
To examine the efficacy and safety for a posterior-approach circumferential decompression and shortening reconstruction with a titanium mesh cage for lumbar burst fractures.
Overview of Literature
Surgical decompression and reconstruction for severely unstable lumbar burst fractures requires an anterior or combined anteroposterior approach. Furthermore, anterior instrumentation for the lower lumbar is restricted through the presence of major vessels.
Three patients with an L1 burst fracture, one with an L3 and three with an L4 (5 men, 2 women; mean age, 65.0 years) who underwent circumferential decompression and shortening reconstruction with a titanium mesh cage through a posterior approach alone and a 4-year follow-up were evaluated regarding the clinical and radiological course.
Mean operative time was 277 minutes. Mean blood loss was 471 ml. In 6 patients, the Frankel score improved more than one grade after surgery, and the remaining patient was at Frankel E both before and after surgery. Mean preoperative visual analogue scale was 7.0, improving to 0.7 postoperatively. Local kyphosis improved from 15.7° before surgery to -11.0° after surgery. In 3 cases regarding the mid to lower lumbar patients, local kyphosis increased more than 10° by 3 months following surgery, due to subsidence of the cages. One patient developed severe tilting and subsidence of the cage, requiring additional surgery.
The results concerning this small series suggest the feasibility, efficacy, and safety of this treatment for unstable lumbar burst fractures. This technique from a posterior approach alone offers several advantages over traditional anterior or combined anteroposterior approaches.