Fusion versus Nonfusion for Surgically Treated Thoracolumbar Burst Fractures: A Meta-Analysis

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Abstract

Background:Posterior pedicle screw fixation has become a popular method for treating thoracolumbar burst fractures. However, it remains unclear whether additional fusion could improve clinical and radiological outcomes. This meta-analysis was performed to evaluate the effectiveness of fusion as a supplement to pedicle screw fixation for thoracolumbar burst fractures.Methodology/Principal Findings:MEDLINE, OVID, Springer, and Google Scholar were searched for relevant randomized and quasi-randomized controlled trials that compared the clinical and radiological efficacy of fusion versus nonfusion for thoracolumbar burst fractures managed by posterior pedicle screw fixation. Risk of bias in included studies was assessed using the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool. We generated pooled risk ratios or weighted mean differences across studies. Based on predefined inclusion criteria, 4 eligible trials with a total of 220 patients were included in this meta-analysis. The mean age of the patients was 35.1 years. 96.8% of the fractures were located at T12 to L1 level. Baseline characteristics were similar between the fusion and nonfusion groups. No significant difference was identified between the two groups regarding radiological outcome, functional outcome, neurologic improvement, and implant failure rate. The pooled data showed that the nonfusion group was associated with significantly reduced operative time (p<0.0001) and blood loss (p = 0.0003).Conclusions/Significances:The results of this meta-analysis suggested that fusion was not necessary when thoracolumbar burst fracture was treated by posterior pedicle screw fixation. More randomized controlled trials with high quality are still needed in the future. © 2013 Tian et al.

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Tian, N. F., Wu, Y. S., Zhang, X. L., Wu, X. L., Chi, Y. L., & Mao, F. M. (2013). Fusion versus Nonfusion for Surgically Treated Thoracolumbar Burst Fractures: A Meta-Analysis. PLoS ONE, 8(5). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0063995

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