Clinical application and cases examples of a new treatment algorithm for treating thoracic and lumbar spine trauma

Andrei F. Joaquim*, Alpesh A. Patel, Gregory D. Schroeder, Alexander R. Vaccaro

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Study design Review of illustrative cases of a new algorithm to help in the treatment decision of thoracolumbar spine trauma. Objectives To illustrate the use of the new algorithm for managing thoracic and lumbar spine trauma. Settings Recently, a new algorithm for helping in the decision of the best treatment modality for thoracolumbar spine trauma (TLST) was published. The algorithm considers injury morphology, neurological status, clinical status (pain and disability), and also multimodal radiological evaluation (MMRE) in the decision for non-operative versus operative treatment for TLST. Injuries were classified in three groups: (1) stable injuries, (2) potentially unstable injuries/ delayed instability, or (3) clearly unstable injuries. Methods Cases examples of the algorithm application were presented and discussed. Results Stable injuries (minor fractures without instability) are non-surgically treated; potentially unstable injuries or associated with delayed instability may be initially managed non-surgically and operative treatment is an option, especially in the setting of important pain, deformity or a new neurological deficit. Clearly unstable injuries are treated surgically as soon as possible to avoid neurological worsening, severe pain, and/ or progressive spinal deformity. Conclusions Clinical examples of TLST were presented, discussed and classified as stable, potentially unstable and clearly unstable injuries. Further studies addressing the reliability and safety of this algorithm are necessary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number56
JournalSpinal cord series and cases
StatePublished - 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


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