Posterior fusion for fragility type 2 odontoid fractures

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  • 1 Department of Neurosurgery, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois;
  • | 2 Department of Neurosurgery, Mayo Clinic Jacksonville, Jacksonville, Florida;
  • | 3 Department of Neurosurgery, UNLV School of Medicine, Las Vegas, Nevada; and
  • | 4 Department of Neurosurgery, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
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OBJECTIVE

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the outcomes of elderly patients with type 2 odontoid fractures treated with an instrumented posterior fusion.

METHODS

Ninety-three consecutive patients older than 65 years of age in whom a type 2 odontoid fracture had been treated with a variety of C1–2 posterior screw fixation techniques were retrospectively reviewed.

RESULTS

The average age was 78 years (range 65–95 years). Thirty-seven patients had an additional fracture, 30 of which involved C1. Three patients had cervical spinal cord dysfunction due to their injury. All patients had comorbidities. The average total hospitalization was 9.6 days (range 2–37 days). There were 3 deaths and 19 major complications, the most common of which was pneumonia. No patient suffered a vertebral artery injury. Imaging studies were obtained in 64 patients at least 12 months postsurgery (mean 19 months). Fusion was assessed by dynamic radiographs in all cases and with a CT scan in 80% of the cases. Four of the 64 patients did not achieve fusion (6.25% overall). All patients in whom fusion failed had undergone C1 lateral mass fixation and C2 pars (1/29, 3.4%) or laminar (3/9, 33.3%) fixation.

CONCLUSIONS

Instrumented posterior cervical fusions may be performed in elderly patients with acceptable morbidity and mortality. The fusion rate is excellent except when bilateral C2 translaminar screws are used for axis fixation.

ABBREVIATIONS

rhBMP-2 = recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein–2.

Images from Shimizu et al. (pp 616–623).

Spine - 1 year subscription bundle (Individuals Only)

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