Radiological Prediction of Posttraumatic Kyphosis After Thoracolumbar Fracture
Inez Curfs1, *, Bernd Grimm2, Matthijs van der Linde1, Paul Willems3, Wouter van Hemert1
1 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology, Atrium Medical Centre, Heerlen, The Netherlands
2 AHORSE Research Institute, Atrium Medical Center, Heerlen, The Netherlands
3 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, MUMC, Maastricht, The Netherlands
Classification methods that are currently being used for clinical decision making in thoracolumbar fractures, are limited by reproducibility and prognostic value. Additionally, they do not include kyphosis. As a posttraumatic kyphosis is related to persistent pain, it is of importance to determine a risk of posttraumatic kyphosis based on fracture type and patient characteristics.
To determine risk factors (AO classification, age, gender, localization) that may lead to progressive kyphosis after a thoracolumbar fracture.
Materials and Methods:
Retrospective radiographic analysis of a consecutive patientcohort that presented in our clinic with a traumatic fracture of the thoracolumbar spine between 2004 and 2011. Cobb angle, Gardner angle, vertebral compression angle and anterior vertebral body compression were measured on plain radiographs, direct post-trauma and at follow-up.
Age and localization are not significantly correlated, but there seems to be an increased risk of progression of kyphosis in age > 50 years and fractures localized at Th12 or L1. A3 type fractures are significantly more at risk for posttraumatic kyphosis compared to A1 and A2 type fractures. 30-50% of the A3 type fractures have an end Gardner angle and end vertebral compression angle of more than 20 degrees.
AO-type A3 fractures appear to be at risk of progression of kyphosis. Localization at Th12-L1 and age above 50 years seem to be risk factors for significant posttraumatic kyphosis. These findings should be used in patient counseling and a meticulous evaluation by weekly radiographs is recommended to determine the treatment strategy of thoracolumbar fractures.
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* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology, Atrium Medical Center, Postbus 4446, 6401 CX Heerlen, The Netherlands; Tel: +31 45 576 67 47; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org