Most cervical fixations for atlantoaxial dislocation (AAD) are bilateral and symmetric; however, in the setting of osseous and vascular deformity at the craniovertebral junction, asymmetrical and hybrid fixations are used as “salvage” techniques. Because of the rarity of these cases, hybrid cervical fixations for AAD have not been fully explored. The aim of this study was to evaluate the clinical feasibility and outcomes of posterior hybrid cervical fixations for AAD.
Twenty-one AAD cases were retrospectively studied; 18 had cervical myelopathy with Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) scores ranging from 9 to 16 (mean 13.5). Hybrid fixation techniques included unilateral pedicle screws, transarticular screws, C-2 laminar screws, cervical lateral mass screws, and spinous process screws. During the same period, 82 AAD cases, treated using symmetric traditional fixations, were analyzed as controls.
Atlantoaxial fixation was performed in 11 cases, while occiput-cervical fixation was used in 10 cases. All cases achieved solid osseous fusion. Anatomical reduction was achieved in 20 cases (95.2%). All 18 cases with myelopathy showed postoperative improvement, with JOA scores ranging from 13 to 17 (mean 15.5). Three cases (14.2%) experienced complications, including delayed wound healing, CSF leakage, and fixation loosening. Hybrid fixation techniques showed significantly greater estimated blood loss when compared with controls (208.1 ± 19.30 ml vs 139.63 ± 8.75 ml, p = 0.001). Operative duration (125.38 ± 6.29 min vs 119.41 ± 3.77 min, p = 0.464), complication rates (14.3% vs 4.9%, p = 0.148), and JOA improvement rates (61% ± 7% vs 49% ± 4%, p = 0.161) showed no significant differences.
For ADD with osseous or vascular deformity, posterior cervical reduction and stabilization can be achieved using hybrid techniques, resulting in comparable clinical results to symmetric traditional fixation.