Open Versus Minimally Invasive Fixation Techniques for Thoracolumbar Trauma: A Meta-Analysis

Steven J. McAnany, Samuel C. Overley, Jun S. Kim, Evan O. Baird, Sheeraz A. Qureshi, Paul A. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Study Design Systematic literature review and meta-analysis of studies published in English. Objective This study evaluated differences in outcome variables between percutaneous and open pedicle screws for traumatic thoracolumbar fractures. Methods A systematic review of PubMed, Cochrane, and Embase was performed. The variables of interest included postoperative visual analog scale (VAS) pain score, kyphosis angle, and vertebral body height, as well as intraoperative blood loss and operative time. The results were pooled by calculating the effect size based on the standardized difference in means. The studies were weighted by the inverse of the variance, which included both within- and between-study error. Confidence intervals were reported at 95%. Heterogeneity was assessed using the Q statistic and I 2. Results After two-reviewer assessment, 38 studies were eliminated. Six studies were found to meet inclusion criteria and were included in the meta-analysis. The combined effect size was found to be in favor of percutaneous fixation for blood loss and operative time (p < 0.05); however, there were no differences in vertebral body height (VBH), kyphosis angle, or VAS scores between open and percutaneous fixation. All of the studies demonstrated relative homogeneity, with I 2 < 25. Conclusions Patients with thoracolumbar fractures can be effectively managed with percutaneous or open pedicle screw placement. There are no differences in VBH, kyphosis angle, or VAS between the two groups. Blood loss and operative time were decreased in the percutaneous group, which may represent a potential benefit, particularly in the polytraumatized patient. All variables in this study demonstrated near-perfect homogeneity, and the effect is likely close to the true effect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)186-194
Number of pages9
JournalGlobal Spine Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 9 Jul 2015


  • burst fracture
  • chance fracture
  • lumbar fracture
  • percutaneous fixation
  • spinal fracture
  • thoracic fracture
  • thoracolumbar trauma
  • vertebral body fracture


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