Decompression with Lateral Pediculectomy and Circumferential Reconstruction for Unstable Thoracolumbar Burst Fractures: Surgical Techniques and Results in 18 Patients

Woo Keun Kwon, Woong Bae Park, Gun Young Lee, Joo-Han Kim, Youn-Kwan Park, Hong Joo Moon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective: To introduce our technique and results of retropleural/peritoneal lateral pediculectomy for the decompression of thoracolumbar fractures and reconstruction using an expandable titanium cage and circumferential fixation at a single stage. Methods: Eighteen patients who had single unstable, burst thoracolumbar fracture were treated by this technique between January 2014 and December 2016 (T12: n = 9, L1: n = 7, L2: n = 2). They were reviewed retrospectively in terms of radiologic outcomes (computed tomography [CT] scan and radiograph), clinical outcomes, and complications. The results were compared with another cohort of thoracolumbar fractures treated by posterior-only surgery. Results: There were no radiologic complications implying pseudoarthrosis or instrument failure on the postoperative 6-month CT scan. There was also no neurologic deterioration or infection during the same period. Two patients (11.1%) of iatrogenic injury and 1 patient of trauma-related injury of the dura were secured without any delayed complications. Three patients (16.7%) with transient weakness in left hip flexion immediately after operation were observed and recovered within 2 weeks in all cases. Six patients (33.3%) complained of dysesthesia and/or hypoesthesia on the incision site. Conclusions: In this study, we suggest lateral pediculectomy as a distinct anatomic landmark to access and remove bony fragments effectively and safely in unstable thoracolumbar burst fractures. This provides a more straightforward access to the burst fragment and helps the surgeon to make better intraoperative decompression strategies. Moreover, this circumferential instrumentation with anterior support and fusion revealed better restoration of the thoracolumbar spine alignment compared with posterior-only surgery, with acceptable complications rates.

Original languageEnglish
JournalWorld Neurosurgery
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2018 Jan 1



  • Anterior stabilization
  • Expandable cage
  • Posterior stabilization
  • Spinal fusion
  • Spinal reconstruction
  • Thoracolumbar fracture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology

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