✓ Although atlantoaxial transarticular screw fixation is technically demanding and there is a significant risk of vertebral artery (VA) injury, transarticular screw insertion in the middle and lower cervical spine is simple and can be performed safely with the aid of lateral fluoroscopic guidance. The authors describe the surgical techniques and outcome of transarticular screw fixation in the middle and lower cervical spine.
Transarticular screw insertion into C2–3 or caudal cervical joints was performed from the articular pillar, directing the screw anterocaudally to penetrate the facet joint and the anterior cortex of the articular pillar, parallel to the sagittal plane. Because the VA and the nerve roots are anterior to the articular pillar at these levels, the screw can be placed safely with the assistance of lateral fluoroscopic guidance. Twenty-five patients ranging in age from 15 to 84 years underwent transarticular screw fixation, with a total of 81 screws. The transarticular screw was used as an anchor screw in combination with posterior cervical instrumentation in 19 patients and for facet screw fixation itself in six patients. Screw placement was successful and uncomplicated in all cases. The follow-up period ranged from 3 months to 5 years. No instance of screw backout or loosening was identified radiographically; fusion was achieved in all patients. Biomechanical strength is maintained by penetrating four cortical layers. When performed appropriately, this method is safe and reliable and deserves more widespread use.