Neurological Outcome After Traumatic Transverse Sacral Fractures: A Systematic Review of 521 Patients Reported in the Literature

D. H.R. Kempen, D. Delawi, M. C. Altena, M. C. Kruyt, M. P.J. van den Bekerom, F. C. Oner, R. W. Poolman

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study was to determine the neurological outcome after transverse sacral fractures in patients with neurological impairment. METHODS: A systematic review of the English, French, German, and Dutch literature was conducted. All study designs, including retrospective cohort studies and case reports, describing transverse sacral fractures were included. Two authors independently extracted the predefined data and scored the neurological impairment according to the Gibbons classification after the trauma and at the time of follow-up. The neurological outcomes were pooled according to the Gibbons classification. RESULTS: No randomized controlled trials or prospective case series were found. A total of 139 articles were included, consisting of 81 case reports and 58 retrospective case series involving 521 patients. Regardless of the type of management, neurological recovery of at least 1 Gibbons category was reported in 62% of these patients. A comparison of the neurological outcome of nonoperatively treated patients and surgically treated patients showed similar neurological recovery rates. For the surgically treated patients, fixation of the fracture resulted in a better neurological improvement compared with an isolated decompression. CONCLUSIONS: This review could not provide evidence of improved neurological recovery after surgical treatment compared with nonoperative treatment. When surgical treatment was considered, there was a low level of evidence that fixation of the fracture results in better neurological improvement compared with isolated decompression. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e1
JournalJBJS reviews
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018
Externally publishedYes


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