Inside—outside technique for posterior occipitocervical spine instrumentation and stabilization: preliminary results

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  • 1 Department of Neurosurgery, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas
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Object. The authors present a series of 16 patients who underwent inside—outside occipital and posterior cervical spine stabilization.

Methods. In this technique, the screw was placed from the inside of the occiput to the outside. An articular (lateral) mass plate was contoured to the shape of the occipital bone and the cervical spine and affixed to the occiput with a flat-headed screw or stud placed through a burr hole in the calvaria with the flat head of the screw in the epidural space and the threads facing outward. The bone plate was then secured with a nut to the occipital screw and the cervical plate was attached to the spine with a bone screw that coursed through the plate and into the articular pillar. Our series included six children and 10 adults. In five patients, previous fusion had failed; in two patients spinal instability was secondary to Down's syndrome; two patients' instability was related to developmental anomalies; and in five patients spinal instability was due to the presence of tumor. One patient with rheumatoid arthritis had undergone a transoral procedure. Two patients had suffered traumatic fracture. Three patients died of causes unrelated to the procedure, one patient died of metastatic cancer, and one patient died in a long term care facility of cardiopulmonary complications. One patient with renal failure suffered a hemorrhage from an arteriovenous fistula after being treated with dialysis. In one child, a nut backed off after 3 months. The nut was reseated, and a maturing arthrodesis was present.

Conclusions. The authors conclude that the inside—outside occipitocervical fixation is an effective technique for stabilizing the cervical spine.

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Contributor Notes

Address reprint requests to: T. Glenn Pait, M.D., Department of Neurosurgery, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, 4301 West Markham Street, Slot 507, Little Rock, Arkansas 72205–7199.
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