Thoracolumbar spine trauma: Evaluation and surgical decision-making

Andrei Joaquim, Alpesh Patel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Introduction: Thoracolumbar spine trauma is the most common site of spinal cord injury, with clinical and epidemiological importance. Materials and Methods: We performed a comprehensive literature review on the management and treatment of TLST. Results: Currently, computed tomography is frequently used as the primary diagnostic test in TLST, with magnetic resonance imaging used in addition to assess disc, ligamentous, and neurological injury. The Thoracolumbar Injury Classification System is a new injury severity score created to help the decision-making process between conservative versus surgical treatment. When decision for surgery is made, early procedures are feasible, safe, can improve outcomes, and reduce healthcare costs. Surgical treatment is individualized based on the injury characteristics and surgeon′s experience, as there is no evidence-based for the superiority of one technique over the other. Conclusions: The correct management of TLST involves multiple steps, such as a precise diagnosis, classification, and treatment. The TLICS can improve care and communication between spine surgeons, resulting in a more standardized treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-9
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Craniovertebral Junction and Spine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2013


  • Classification
  • diagnosis
  • spinal cord injury
  • thoracolumbar spine trauma
  • treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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