Health-Related Quality of Life After Short Segment Instrumentation of Lumbar Burst Fractures
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Management of lumbar burst fractures remains controversial. Surgical reduction/stabilization is becoming more popular; however, the functional impact of operative intervention is not clear. The purpose of this study was to assess health-related quality of life and functional outcome after posterior fixation of lumbar burst fractures with either posterolateral or intrabody bone grafting. Twenty-four subjects were included. Radiographs and computed tomography scans were evaluated for deformity (kyphosis, vertebral compression, lateral angulation, lateral body height, and canal compromise) postoperatively, at 1 year, and at final follow-up (mean 3.2 years). Patients completed the SF 36 Health Survey and the Oswestry Low Back Pain Disability Questionnaire at final follow-up. Significant improvement was noted in midsagittal diameter compromise, vertebral compression, and kyphosis. The difference observed between the respondents mean scores on the SF 36 was not significantly different from those presented as the U.S. national average (p = 0.053). Data from the Oswestry questionnaire indicated a similarly high level of function. Overall, we found posterior spinal instrumentation to correlate with positive functional outcome based on both general health (SF 36) and joint-specific outcome scales (Oswestry). Posterior instrumentation provides sound canal decompression, kyphotic reduction, and maintains vertebral height with minimal transgression and long-term sequelae. In cases of severe initial deformity and neurologic compromise, intrabody bone grafting is most certainly indicated; the additional support provided by a posterolateral graft may also prove beneficial as an adjunct.