Predictive Value of Computed Tomography Scan for Posterior Ligamentous Complex Injuries in Patients with Thoracolumbar Spinal Fractures



1 Department of Neurosurgery, Ghaem Hospital, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

2 Department of Neurosurgery, Akbar Hospital, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

3 Department of Neurosurgery, Shahid Kamyab Hospital, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

4 Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran


Background: Thoracolumbar spinal fractures include a range of injuries of various severities from simple apophyseal
fractures to neurological injury and complex fractures associated with vertebral dislocation. The treatment of
thoracolumbar fractures is challenging, especially due to the difficulty of evaluating the posterior ligamentous complex
(PLC). The purpose of this study was to evaluate the diagnostic value of computed tomography (CT) scan in predicting
PLC injuries in the patients with thoracolumbar spinal fractures referring to the referral center of spinal trauma in the
east north of Iran in 2016.
Methods: This retrospective study was conducted on patients with thoracolumbar injuries referring to Shahid Kamyab
Hospital in Mashhad, east north of Iran, in 2016. The data were collected by entering the data of medical records into
special forms. The classification of spinal fractures was accomplished using the AO Spine Classification System.
Results: According to the results, 71 (71.7%) patients were male, and the subjects had a mean age of 44.6±17.7 years.
The PLC injury was observed in 28 (28.3%) patients. The PLC injury showed a significant relationship with facet joint
widening, increased interspinous process distance, and spinous process avulsion fracture (P<0.05).
Conclusion: As the findings of this study indicated, the diagnostic results of PLC injury by means of CT scan was
similar to those obtained by magnetic resonance imaging in patients with thoracolumbar spinal fractures.
Level of evidence: III


Main Subjects