The correction of chin-on-chest deformity is challenging and requires combined anterior and posterior approaches to the cervical spine. The authors describe a cervical osteotomy technique for the correction of chin-on-chest deformity in patients with ankylosing spondylitis (AS). This procedure can be accomplished using a posterior screw rod construct combined with an anterior hybrid plate system.
In patients with AS, a “front-back-front” approach may be necessary because of the deformity's rigidity. The authors describe the complicated intubation and anesthetic requirements for this approach. They performed an anterior discectomy, cervical osteotomy, and unilateral pediculectomy but did not place anterior instrumentation. Via a posterior approach, laminectomies, facetectomies, and the contralateral pediculectomy were then undertaken. A posterior cervical screw/rod system was placed and loosely connected to titanium rods. Intraoperatively the deformity was corrected by placing the neck in extension combined with compression of the posterior screws on the rods. The posterior construct is then tightened. Finally, an anterior cervical approach is performed to place a structural interbody graft and a hybrid anterior cervical plate construct.
The authors have successfully used this approach to correct a chin-on-chest deformity in a patient with ankylosing spondylitis. At 1-year follow-up examination, excellent resolution of the deformity and solid fusion had been achieved. They prefer to perform this procedure by using state-of-the-art anterior and posterior instrumentation systems.