No evidence for the effectiveness of bracing in patients with thoracolumbar fractures: A systematic review

Boukje M. Giele, Suzanne H. Wiertsema, Anita Beelen, Marike van der Schaaf, Cees Lucas, Henk D. Been, Jos A. M. Bramer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


Background and purpose The use of braces is widespread in patients with thoracolumbar fractures. The effectiveness of bracing, however, is controversial. We sought evidence for the effect of bracing in patients with traumatic thoracolumbar fractures based on outcome and length of hospital stay (LOS). Furthermore, we evaluated the incidence of complications of bracing. Methods An electronic search strategy with extensive MeSH headings was used in various databases to identify studies that compared bracing and non-bracing therapies. Two reviewers independently selected systematic reviews, randomized controlled trials (RCTs), controlled clinical trials, and observational studies, and both assessed the methodological quality and extracted the data. Results No systematic reviews or RCTs were found. 7 retrospective studies were included. None of these studies showed an effect of bracing. Because of poor methodological quality, no best-evidence synthesis could be performed. One observational study was selected in which a complication of bracing was reported. Interpretation In the present literature, there is no evidence for the effectiveness of bracing in patients with traumatic thoracolumbar fractures. The lack of high-quality studies prevents relevant conclusions from being drawn
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)226-232
JournalActa Orthopaedica
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Braces
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Fracture Healing
  • Humans
  • Journal Article
  • Length of Stay
  • Lumbar Vertebrae
  • Outcome Assessment (Health Care)
  • Review
  • Spinal Fractures
  • Thoracic Vertebrae
  • Treatment Outcome

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