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Takahisa Hishiya, Tetsuhiro Ishikawa, and Mitsutoshi Ota

OBJECTIVE

Diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH)–related vertebral fractures essentially require operative treatment due to severe fracture site instability and high potential risk of posttraumatic neurological deficit. However, the optimal surgical procedure remains unclear. The purpose of this study was to assess the efficacy of posterior spinal fixation with penetrating endplate screws (PESs) for DISH-related thoracolumbar fractures.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective, single-center, observational study. They included data from 26 consecutive patients with DISH-related thoracolumbar fractures who were treated with posterior spinal fixation using either conventional pedicle screws (PS group, n = 8) or a combined PES technique (PES group, n = 18) between 2013 and 2019. Age, sex, BMI, bone mineral density, fracture level, use of antithrombotic drug, blood loss, operation time, fixation range, perioperative American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale score, implant failure, revision surgery, complications, and mortality were compared. The authors also evaluated screw loosening and bone healing on radiographs and CT scans.

RESULTS

More patients had vertebral fractures in the lumbar spine in the PS group than in the PES group (3 vs 0; p = 0.019). Patients in the PES group had less blood loss (63 vs 173 ml; p = 0.048) and shorter range of fixation (5 vs 5.5 levels; p = 0.041). The screw loosening rate was significantly lower in the PES group than in the PS group (3% vs 49%; p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

Posterior spinal fixation using a PES technique may be an ideal surgical procedure for thoracolumbar fractures with DISH, providing more rigid and less invasive fixation than PS.