One year following cast or brace treatment of a thoracolumbar burst fracture, the expected outcomes include a 40% chance of being pain free, and a 70% chance of regaining pre-injury range of motion. Sixty-eight percent of experts predicted that patients should be able to participate in high-impact exercise and contact sport one year post-injury, with 39% expecting no limitations and 295 expecting some limitations. Consensus expert opinion predicted re-employment within 4-6 months. The length of inpatient stay averaged 4-5 days (Schouten et al., 2015).
A literature review combined with expert opinion were considered in five common cervical spine injuries and treatments. In Jefferson fractures (C1/atlas burst or ring fracture) 35% of patients experience persistent neck or scalp pain. Expert consensus recommended a return to manual work after five months. This consensus was relatively homogenous across injury types (Jefferson/Hangman/Odontoid/Facet fracture) (Lewkonia et al., 2011).
LEWKONIA, P., DIPAOLA, C. P., SCHOUTEN, R., DVORAK, M. & FISHER, C. G. 2011. A synthesis of best available evidence and expert opinion on outcomes after cervical trauma: what should surgeons be telling their patients? Evid Based Spine Care J, 2, 57-8.
SCHOUTEN, R., LEWKONIA, P., NOONAN, V. K., DVORAK, M. F. & FISHER, C. G. 2015. Expectations of recovery and functional outcomes following thoracolumbar trauma: an evidence-based medicine process to determine what surgeons should be telling their patients. J Neurosurg Spine, 22, 101-11.