Radiological Prediction of Posttraumatic Kyphosis After Thoracolumbar Fracture

Inez Curfs*, Bernd Grimm, Matthijs van der Linde, Paul Willems, Wouter van Hemert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Classification methods that are currently being used for clinical decision making in thoracolumbar fractures, are limited by reproducibility and prognostic value. Additionally, they do not include kyphosis. As a posttraumatic kyphosis is related to persistent pain, it is of importance to determine a risk of posttraumatic kyphosis based on fracture type and patient characteristics.To determine risk factors (AO classification, age, gender, localization) that may lead to progressive kyphosis after a thoracolumbar fracture.Retrospective radiographic analysis of a consecutive patientcohort that presented in our clinic with a traumatic fracture of the thoracolumbar spine between 2004 and 2011. Cobb angle, Gardner angle, vertebral compression angle and anterior vertebral body compression were measured on plain radiographs, direct post-trauma and at follow-up.Age and localization are not significantly correlated, but there seems to be an increased risk of progression of kyphosis in age > 50 years and fractures localized at Th12 or L1. A3 type fractures are significantly more at risk for posttraumatic kyphosis compared to A1 and A2 type fractures. 30-50% of the A3 type fractures have an end Gardner angle and end vertebral compression angle of more than 20 degrees.AO-type A3 fractures appear to be at risk of progression of kyphosis. Localization at Th12-L1 and age above 50 years seem to be risk factors for significant posttraumatic kyphosis. These findings should be used in patient counseling and a meticulous evaluation by weekly radiographs is recommended to determine the treatment strategy of thoracolumbar fractures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-142
JournalThe Open Orthopaedics Journal
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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