Treatment of Unstable Thoracolumbar Burst Fractures by Indirect Reduction and Posterior Stabilization: Short-Segment Versus Long-Segment Stabilization

George Sapkas1, Konstantinos Kateros2, Stamatios A Papadakis*, 3, Emmanouel Brilakis2, George Macheras3, Pavlos Katonis4
1 A’ Department of Orthopaedics, Medical School of Athens University, Athens, Greece
2 B’ Department of Orthopaedics, Medical School of Athens University, Athens, Agia Olga General Hospital, Greece
3 D’ Department of Orthopaedics, “KAT” General Hospital, Kifissia, Greece
4 Orthopaedic Department, University of Crete, Herakleion, Greece

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© Sapkas et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( which permits unrestrictive use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the D' Department of Orthopaedics, "KAT" General Hospital 2, Nikis Str, 14561 Kifissia, Greece; Tel: +30 6944 297086; Fax: +30 210 61 37 145; E-mail:


In order to compare short-segment stabilization with long-segment stabilization for treating unstable thoracolumbar fractures, we studied fifty patients suffered from unstable thoracolumbar burst fractures. Thirty of them were managed with long-segment posterior transpedicular instrumentation and twenty patients with short- segment stabilization. The mean follow up period was 5.2 years. Pre-operative and post-operative radiological parameters, like the Cobb angle, the kyphotic deformation and the Beck index were evaluated. A statistically significant difference between the two under study groups was noted for the Cobb angle and the kyphotic deformation, while, as far as the Beck index is concerned, no significant difference was noted. In conclusion, either the long-segment or the short-segment stabilization is able for reducing the segmental kyphosis and the vertebral body deformation postoperatively. However, as time goes by, the long-segment stabilization is associated with better results as far as the radiological parameters, the indexes and the patient’s satisfaction are concerned.

Keywords: Transpedicular instrumentation, short-segment, long-segment, radiological parameters, spine.