Timing of Surgery in Thoracolumbar Spine Injury: Impact on Neurological Outcome.

TitleTiming of Surgery in Thoracolumbar Spine Injury: Impact on Neurological Outcome.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsQadir I, K Riew D, Alam SRoman, Akram R, Waqas M, Aziz A
JournalGlobal Spine J
Date Published2020 Oct

STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study.

OBJECTIVE: We aimed to evaluate the improvement in neurological deficit following early versus late decompression and stabilization of thoracolumbar junctional fractures.

METHODS: This is a retrospective evaluation of all patients with a traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) from T11 to L2 treated at a teaching hospital between 2010 and 2017. Grouped analysis was performed comparing the cohort of patients who received early surgery within 24 hours (group 1) with those operated within 24 to 72 hours (group 2) and more than 72 hours after SCI (group 3). The primary outcome was the change in ASIA (American Spinal Injury Association) motor score at 12-month follow-up.

RESULTS: There were 317 patients (225 males and 92 females with mean age of 31.55 ± 12.43 years). A total of 144, 77, and 96 patients belonged to groups 1, 2, and 3 respectively. Improvement of at least 1 grade on ASIA classification was observed in 80, 45, and 33 patients in groups 1, 2, and 3 respectively ( = .001). Overall, 32, 12, and 10 patients improved ≥2 grades on ASIA classification in groups 1, 2, and 3, respectively ( = .069). On logistic regression analysis, early surgery and severity of initial injury (complete [ASIA A] vs incomplete SCI [ASIA B-D]) were found to significantly influence the potential for neurologic improvement ( = .004 and < .0001, respectively).

CONCLUSION: We believe that the earlier the decompression, the better. The 72-hour cutoff represents the most promising time window during which surgical decompression has the potential to confer a neuroprotective effect in the setting of incomplete SCI (ASIA B-D) in the distal region of the spinal cord (conus medullaris).

Alternate JournalGlobal Spine J
PubMed ID32905717
PubMed Central IDPMC7485084