Development and validation of a simplified thoracolumbar spine fracture classification system

14 Apr 2022

STUDY DESIGN : Development and validation of fracture classification system. OBJECTIVE: To develop and validate a Simplified Classification System (SCS) for Thoraco-Lumbar (TL) fractures (SCS – TL fractures). SETTING : Tertiary Spinal Injuries Centre, New Delhi, India METHODS : Based on the International Spinal Cord Society Spine Trauma Study Group (ISCoS STSG, n = 23) experts’ clinical consensus conducted by the senior author and on his own experience, the Denis classification for TL fractures was modified to develop a SCS-TL fractures that could guide the management. After Face and Content validation, Construct validation was done in two stages. First stage analyzed if management of 30 cases of TL fractures, as suggested by the SCS - TL fractures and ISCoS STSG (n = 9) as well as other (n = 5) experts, matched. Second stage was a one year prospective study analyzing if the management suggested matched the management actually carried out by different spine surgeons (n = 10) working at a single institution. RESULTS : In the first stage there was 100% agreement for management (conservative or surgical) as proposed by experts and that suggested by the proposed classification for TL fractures whereas for surgical approach there was 88% agreement. In the second stage, there was 100% agreement for the management as well as surgical approach as carried out at our centre and that proposed by the SCS for TL fractures. CONCLUSIONS : The proposed SCS-TL fractures helps in classifying and in decision making for management of TL fractures. The next phase of validation would involve multicentric reliability studies and prospective application of the SCS- TL fractures.