Spondyloptosis represents the most severe form of spondylolisthesis, which usually follows high-energy trauma. Few reports exist on this specific condition, and the largest series published to date consists of only 5 patients. In the present study the authors report the clinical observations and outcomes in a cohort of 20 patients admitted to a regional trauma center for severe injuries including spondyloptosis.
The authors performed a retrospective chart review of patients admitted with spondyloptosis at their department over a 5-year period (March 2008–March 2013). Clinical, radiological, and operative details were reviewed for all patients.
In total, 20 patients with spondyloptosis were treated during the period reviewed. The mean age of the patients was 27 years (range 12–45 years), and 17 patients were male (2 boys and 15 men) and 3 were women. Fall from height (45%) and road traffic accidents (35%) were the most common causes of the spinal injuries. The grading of the American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) was used to assess the severity of spinal cord injury, which for all patients was ASIA Grade A at the time of admission. In 11 patients (55%), the thoracolumbar junction (T10–L2) was involved in the injury, followed by the dorsal region (T1–9) in 7 patients (35%); 1 patient (5%) had lumbar and 1 patient (5%) sacral spondyloptosis. In 19 patients (95%), spondyloptosis was treated surgically, involving the posterior route in all cases. In 7 patients (37%), corpectomy was performed. None of the patients showed improvement in neurological deficits. The mean follow-up length was 37.5 months (range 3–60 months), and 5 patients died in the follow-up period from complications due to formation of bedsores (decubitus ulcers).
To the authors' best knowledge, this study was the largest of its kind on traumatic spondyloptosis. Its results illustrate the challenges of treating patients with this condition. Despite deformity correction of the spine and early mobilization of patients, traumatic spondyloptosis led to high morbidity and mortality rates because the patients lacked access to rehabilitation facilities postoperatively.