The management strategies of thoracolumbar (TL) burst fractures include posterior, anterior, and combined approaches. However, the rigid constructs pose a risk of proximal junctional failure. In this study, we aim to systemically evaluate the biomechanical performance of different TL reconstruction constructs using finite element analysis. Furthermore, we investigate the motion and the stress on the proximal junctional level adjacent to the constructs. We used a T10-L3 finite element model and simulated L1 burst fracture. Reconstruction with posterior instrumentation (PI) alone (U2L2 and U1L1+(intermediate screw) and three-column spinal reconstruction (TCSR) constructs (U1L1+PMMA and U1L1+Cage) were compared. Long-segment PI resulted in greater global motion reduction compared to constructs with short-segment PI. TCSR constructs provided better stabilization in L1 compared to PI alone. Decreased intradiscal and intravertebral pressure in the proximal level were observed in U1L1+IS, U1L1+PMMA, and U1L1+Cage compared to U2L2. The stress and strain energy of the pedicle screws decreased when anterior reconstruction was performed in addition to PI. We showed that TCSR with anterior reconstruction and SSPI provided sufficient immobilization while offering additional advantages in the preservation of physiological motion, the decreased burden on the proximal junctional level, and lower risk of implant failure.
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