Article Abstract

Case series of posterior instrumentation for repair of burst lumbar vertebral body fractures with entrapped neural elements

Authors: Haider Kareem, Muhammad Hasan Raza, Vassilios Kontojannis, Amr Nimer, Kevin Tsang


Background: Burst fractures of the lumbar vertebrae and laminar fractures associated with dural tears and entrapment of neural elements have been reported in the past as a relatively rare occurrence. To the best of our knowledge, there is no consensus on the approach to repairing these types of fractures. The objective of this study is to describe a method of repair for traumatic burst fractures of the lumbar spine and vertical laminar fractures associated with entrapped neural elements.
Methods: Seventeen patients with lumbar burst fractures were treated from June 2015 through April 2017. Dural tear was detected in all cases included in this study (confirmed intra-operatively). All other burst fractures were excluded. In all cases, unilateral posterior fixation was performed with no distraction initially. The spinal canal was then decompressed; and the entrapped neural elements released. Formal distraction was performed after canal decompression to allow for ligamentotaxis, followed by reduction of the retropulsed fractured segments back into the vertebral body.
Results: Using this method we achieved satisfactory results in that none of the patients had further deterioration of neurological deficit and the fixation allowed for early mobilization. Continued improvement was seen at the time of follow up for each of the studied patients with improved neurology, pain and no CSF leak.
Conclusions: Our institution has demonstrated successful use of a posterior instrumentation, spinal canal decompression, release of entrapped nerve roots, and reduction of the retropulsed segment, in patients with traumatic burst fracture of the lumbar vertebrae complicated by entrapped neural elements.