In vivo 3D kinematics of the upper cervical spine during head rotation in rheumatoid arthritis

Clinical article

Tsuyoshi Sugiura M.D. 1 , Yukitaka Nagamoto M.D., Ph.D. 2 , Motoki Iwasaki M.D., Ph.D. 3 , Masafumi Kashii M.D., Ph.D. 3 , Takashi Kaito M.D., Ph.D. 3 , Tsuyoshi Murase M.D., Ph.D. 3 , Tetsuya Tomita M.D., Ph.D. 1 , Hideki Yoshikawa M.D., Ph.D. 3 , and Kazuomi Sugamoto M.D., Ph.D. 1
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  • 1 Departments of Orthopaedic Biomaterial Science and
  • 3 Orthopaedics, Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine; and
  • 2 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Osaka National Hospital, Osaka, Japan
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Object

The upper cervical spine is commonly involved in persons with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Although 2D measurements have long been used in the evaluation of cervical lesions caused by RA, 2D measurements are limited in their effectiveness for detecting subtle and complex morphological and kinematic changes. The purpose of this study was to elucidate the 3D kinematics of the upper cervical spine in RA and the relationship between 3D morphological changes and decreased segmental rotational motion.

Methods

Twenty-five consecutive patients (2 men and 23 women, mean age 63.5 years, range 42–77 years) with RA (the RA group) and 10 patients (5 men and 5 women, mean age 69.9 years, range 57–82 years) with cervical spondylosis and no involvement of the upper cervical spine (the control group) underwent 3D CT of the cervical spine in 3 positions (neutral, 45° head rotation to the left, and 45° head rotation to the right). The segmental rotation angle from the occiput (Oc) to C-2 was calculated for each participant using a voxel-based registration method, and the 3D destruction of articular facets was quantified using the authors' own parameter, the articular facet index.

Results

The segmental rotation angle was significantly smaller at C1–2 and larger at Oc–C1 in the RA group compared with the control group. The degree of the destruction of the articular facet at C-1 and C-2 correlated with the segmental rotation angle.

Conclusions

In vivo 3D kinematics of the upper cervical spine during head rotation in patients with RA were accurately measured, allowing quantification of the degree of joint destruction for the first time. Joint destruction may play an important role in decreasing segmental motion of the upper cervical spine in RA.

Abbreviations used in this paper:AAS = atlantoaxial subluxation; ADI = anterior atlantodental interval; AFI = articular facet index; ICC = intraclass correlation coefficient; Oc = occiput; RA = rheumatoid arthritis; RMSE = root mean square error.

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Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to: Tsuyoshi Sugiura, M.D., Department of Orthopaedic Biomaterial Science, Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine, 2-2 Yamadaoka, Suita, Osaka 565-0871, Japan. email: sugiura244@yahoo.co.jp.

Please include this information when citing this paper: published online February 7, 2014; DOI: 10.3171/2014.1.SPINE13252.

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