TITLE: Anterior decompression for late pain and paralysis after fractures of the thoracolumbar spine.
AUTHORS: Bohlman HH; Kirkpatrick JS; Delamarter RB Leventhal M
ABSTRACT: Anterior decompression of the thoracic and lumbar spine is indicated for patients with trauma, infection, or tumor that causes compression of the neural tissues, resulting in an incomplete neurologic deficit. The complication of chronic pain, with or without paralysis, that results from fractures with canal compromise has received little attention. This study involved 45 patients who had anterior decompression for chronic pain or paralysis at an average of 4.5 years after having thoracolumbar fractures. Pain was improved in 41 of 45 patients, with complete relief in 30 and partial relief in 11. In 25 patients with neurologic deficit, 21 noted improvement, 14 of which improved one or more grades of the Eismont classification. No patient had an increase in pain or loss of neurologic function. Complications were few. Anterior decompression of the thoracolumbar spine for chronic pain after thoracolumbar fractures is a safe and effective treatment for patients with this uncommon and difficult problem.
SOURCE: Clin Orthop 1994 Mar;(300):24-9