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Congress of Neurological Surgeons Systematic Review and Evidence-Based Guidelines on the Evaluation and Treatment of Patients With Thoracolumbar Spine Trauma: Novel Surgical Strategies.

Neurosurgery 2019 January 2
BACKGROUND: Treatment of thoracolumbar burst fractures has traditionally involved spinal instrumentation with fusion performed with standard open surgical techniques. Novel surgical strategies, including instrumentation without fusion and percutaneous instrumentation alone, have been considered less invasive and more efficient treatments.

OBJECTIVE: To review the current literature and determine the role of fusion in instrumented fixation, as well as the role of percutaneous instrumentation, in the treatment of patients with thoracolumbar burst fractures.

METHODS: The task force members identified search terms/parameters and a medical librarian implemented the literature search, consistent with the literature search protocol (see Appendix I), using the National Library of Medicine PubMed database and the Cochrane Library for the period from January 1, 1946 to March 31, 2015.

RESULTS: A total of 906 articles were identified and 38 were selected for full-text review. Of these articles, 12 articles met criteria for inclusion in this systematic review.

CONCLUSION: There is grade A evidence for the omission of fusion in instrumented fixation for thoracolumbar burst fractures. There is grade B evidence that percutaneous instrumentation is as effective as open instrumentation for thoracolumbar burst fractures.

QUESTION: Does the addition of arthrodesis to instrumented fixation improve outcomes in patients with thoracic and lumbar burst fractures?

RECOMMENDATION: It is recommended that in the surgical treatment of patients with thoracolumbar burst fractures, surgeons should understand that the addition of arthrodesis to instrumented stabilization has not been shown to impact clinical or radiological outcomes, and adds to increased blood loss and operative time. Strength of Recommendation: Grade A.

QUESTION: How does the use of minimally invasive techniques (including percutaneous instrumentation) affect outcomes in patients undergoing surgery for thoracic and lumbar fractures compared to conventional open techniques?

RECOMMENDATION: Stabilization using both open and percutaneous pedicle screws may be considered in the treatment of thoracolumbar burst fractures as the evidence suggests equivalent clinical outcomes. Strength of Recommendation: Grade B The full version of the guideline can be reviewed at:

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