Odontogenic ventral brainstem compression can be a source of significant morbidity in patients with craniocervical disease. The most common methods for odontoidectomy are the transoral and endoscopic endonasal routes. In this study, the authors investigated the use of an institutional protocol for endoscopic transnasal/transoral odontoidectomy in the pediatric population.
From 2007 to 2017, a multidisciplinary institutional protocol was developed and refined for the evaluation and treatment of pediatric patients requiring odontoidectomy. Preoperative assessment included airway evaluation, a sleep study (if indicated), discussion of possible tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy, and thorough imaging review by the neurosurgery and otolaryngology teams. Further preoperative anesthesia consultation was obtained for difficult airways. Intraoperatively, adenoidectomy was performed at the discretion of otolaryngology. The odontoidectomy was performed as a combined procedure. Primary posterior pharyngeal closure was performed by the otolaryngologist. The postoperative protocol called for immediate extubation, advancement to a soft diet at 24 hours, and no postoperative antibiotics. Outcome variables included time to extubation, operative time, estimated blood loss, hospital length of stay, and postoperative complications.
A total of 13 patients underwent combined endoscopic transoral/transnasal odontoid resection with at least 3 years of follow-up. All patients had stable to improved neurological function in the postoperative setting. All patients were extubated immediately after the procedure. The average operative length was 201 ± 46 minutes, and the average estimated blood loss was 44.6 ± 40.0 ml. Nine of 13 patients underwent simultaneous tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy. The average hospital length of stay was 6.6 ± 5 days. The first patient in the series required revision surgery for removal of a small residual odontoid. One patient experienced pharyngeal flap dehiscence requiring revision.
A protocolized, institutional approach for endoscopic transoral/transnasal odontoidectomy is described. The use of a combined, multidisciplinary approach leads to streamlined patient management and favorable outcomes in this complex patient population.