Objective: The treatment of multiple thoracolumbar spine fractures according to fracture continuity has rarely been reported. Herein we evaluate the clinical features and outcomes of multiple thoracolumbar fractures depending on continuous or noncontinuous status. Methods: From January 2010 to January 2016, 48 patients with acute thoracic and lumbar multiple fractures who underwent posterior fusion surgery were evaluated. Patients were divided into two groups (group A: continuous; group B: noncontinuous). We investigated the causes of the injuries, the locations of the injuries, the range of fusion levels, and the functional outcomes based on the patients’ general characteristics. Results: A total of 48 patients were enrolled (group A: 25 patients; group B: 23 patients). Both groups had similar pre-surgical clinical and radiologic features. The fusion level included three segments (group A: 4; group B: 5) or four segments (group A: 19; group B: 5). Group B required more instrumented segments than did group A. Group A scored 23.5 and group B scored 33.4 on the Korean Oswestry Disability Index (KODI) at the time of last follow-up. In both groups, longer fusion was associated with worse KODI score. Conclusion: In this study, due to the assumption of similar initial clinical and radiologic features in both group, the mechanism of multiple fractures is presumed to be the same between continuous and noncontinuous fractures. The noncontinuous fracture group had worse KODI scores in long-term follow-up, thought to be due to long fusion level. Therefore, we recommend minimizing the number of segments that are fused in multiple thoracolumbar and lumbar fractures when decompression is not necessary.
- Spinal fractures