Aim: The aim of this paper was to assess the efficacy of a minimally invasive treatment with percutaneous vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty for traumatic fracture of thoracolumbar junction. Treatment of stable traumatic vertebral fractures of the thoracolumbar junction without neurological deficit is still controversy. Conservative treatment, characterized by discomfort and limitation in patient mobility, was progressively replaced by minimally invasive techniques such as percutaneous vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty.
Methods: Between January 2003 and August 2005, 34 patients suffering from 42 thoracolumbar fractures were treated at Neurosurgical Department of Istituto Galeazzi (Milan). The treatment selected (vertebroplasty versus kyphoplasty), depended on age of patients, timing and type of fracture. Results were clinically assessed by Visual Analogue Score (VAS) and Oswestry Disability Index.
Results: Mean preoperative VAS was 8.32 (range 5-10). Percutaneous vertebroplasty was performed in 25 cases (73.5%); while 9 patients were treated by kyphoplasty (27.5%); 27 patients showed a single level and 7 multilevel of the fractures. No complications occurred (infection, neurological deficit, embolic events) after treatment. At the early follow-up 91.7% of the patients achieved a good pain control already after 24 hours. Pain relief and disability, analyzed by VAS and Oswestry Disability Index, showed a good results at late follow-up time.
Conclusions: Percutaneous vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are two safe and effective techniques for treatment of thoracolumbar traumatic fractures and allow a good pain-control and return to normal working activity and social life.