Fixation with C-2 laminar screws in occipitocervical or C1–2 constructs in children 5 years of age or younger: a series of 18 patients

Clinical article

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  • 1 Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery, Department of Neurological Surgery, Goodman Campbell Brain and Spine, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Indiana; and
  • | 2 Pediatric Neuro-Spine Program, Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery, Department of Neurosurgery, Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children's Hospital, Houston, Texas
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Object

There are rare indications for upper cervical spine fusion in young children. Compared with nonrigid constructs, rigid instrumentation with screw fixation increases the fusion rate and reduces the need for halo fixation. Instrumentation may be technically challenging in younger children. A number of screw placement techniques have been described. Use of C-2 translaminar screws has been shown to be anatomically feasible, even in the youngest of children. However, there are few data detailing the clinical outcome. In this study, the authors describe the clinical and radiographic follow-up of 18 children 5 years of age or younger who had at least one C-2 translaminar screw as part of an occipitocervical or C1–2 fusion construct.

Methods

A retrospective review of all children treated with instrumented occipitocervical or C1–2 fusion between July 1, 2007, and June 30, 2013, at Riley Children's Hospital and Texas Children's Hospital was performed. All children 5 years of age or younger with incorporation of at least one C-2 translaminar screw were identified.

Results

Eighteen children were studied (7 boys and 11 girls). The mean age at surgery was 38.1 months (range 10–68 months). Indications for surgery included traumatic instability (6), os odontoideum (3), destructive processes (2), and congenital instability (7). A total of 24 C-2 translaminar screws were placed; 23 (95.8%) of 24 were satisfactorily placed (completely contained within the cortical walls). There was one medial cortex breach without neurological impingement. There were no complications with screw placement. Three patients required wound revisions. Two patients died as a result of their original condition (trauma, malignant tumor). The mean follow-up duration for the surviving patients was 17.5 months (range 3–60 months). Eleven (91.7%) of the 12 patients followed for 6 months or longer showed radiographic stability or completed fusion.

Conclusions

Use of C-2 translaminar screws provides an effective anchor for internal fixation of the upper cervical spine. In this study of children 5 years of age or younger, the authors found a high rate of radiographic fusion with a low rate of complications.

Abbreviations used in this paper:

BMP-2 = recombinant bone morphogenetic protein–2; OC = occipitocervical; VA = vertebral artery.

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