To analyze the degeneration of the adjacent disc after arthrodesis due to thoracolumbar fractures.
Eighty-three patients who underwent posterolateral arthrodesis in thoracolumbar levels had their x-rays analyzed for degeneration of adjacent discs to the arthrodesis. The disc spaces were classified by the UCLA scale.
Of the 83 patients evaluated, 66 were males (79%) and 18 females (21%), with a mean age of 35.5 years. The mean follow-up period was 40 months. As the fractures 75% were between T12 and L2 (p<0.001), being of the A3 type in 65% of the cases (p<0.001). The most common mechanism of injury, accounting for 50% of the cases (p<0.001), was fall from height. Only 6% of the superior discs and 12% of the inferior ones showed some degree of degeneration. No patient underwent a new surgical approach.
The incidence of degeneration on adjacent disc in patients after arthrodesis resulting from fractures ranged from 6% to 12% with an average follow-up of 40 months.