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This article has been peer reviewed. It is the author’s final published version in Asian Spine Journal, Volume 13, Issue 3, June 2019, Pages 432-440.

The published version is available at Copyright © Luksanapruksa et al.


STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study.

PURPOSE: To evaluate surgical outcomes and complications of cervical spine fractures in ankylosing spondylitis (CAS) patients who were treated using either the posterior (P) or combined approach (C).

OVERVIEW OF LITERATURE: Ankylosing spondylitis typically causes progressive spinal stiffness that makes patients susceptible to spinal fractures. CAS is a highly unstable condition. There is contradictory evidence regarding which treatment option, the posterior or the combined approach, yields superior clinical results.

METHODS: A single institution database was reviewed for data in the period 1999 to 2015. All CAS patients who underwent posterior or combined instrumented fusion were enrolled. We analyzed demographic data, radiographic results, perioperative complications, and postoperative results.

RESULTS: Thirty-three patients were enrolled (23 in the P group, 10 in the C group). All patients presented with neck pain after a fall. In the P group, mean operative time was 161.1 minutes (100-327 minutes), and mean estimated blood loss (EBL) was 306.4 mL (50-750 mL). In the C group, 90% of patients underwent a staged procedure, typically with posterior surgery first. Mean EBL was 124 mL (25-337 mL). For posterior surgery, mean EBL was 458.3 mL (400-550 mL). EBL of posterior surgery in the C group was higher but this difference was not significant (p=0.16). Postoperative complication rate was higher in the C group but this difference was not significant (50% vs. 17.4%, p=0.09). In the follow-up period, no late reoperations were performed. Patients who underwent C surgery had a higher rate of neurological improvement but this difference was not significant (p=0.57).

CONCLUSIONS: Both P and C provided good clinical results. P surgery had lower EBL, lower postoperative complication rate, and shorter length of stay than C surgery; none of these differences were statistically significant.

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