The authors conducted a retrospective study on the long term outcome (+/-9 years) after instrumentation for thoracolumbar fractures. This study is probably unique in that it compares the surgical group with a control group of healthy volunteers, rather than with a group of conservatively treated Patients. All classical outcome measures were used : ODI, RMDQ, VASSS, VAS, Denis Pain scale, SF-36 Bodily Pain, SF-12 Bodily Pain, the remaining SF-36 and SF-12 scores, and the Denis Work Scale. As expected, the large majority of the scores was better in the healthy group. The difference was significant, except as far as the SF-tests were concerned.