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Plate fixation of odontoid fractures without C1-C2 arthrodesis: practice of a novel surgical technique for stabilization of odontoid fractures, including the opportunity to extend the fixation to C3.

Neurosurgery 2009 April
OBJECTIVE: Surgical treatment of odontoid fractures that do not allow interfragmentary fracture compression involves either posterior atlantoaxial arthrodesis or additional anterior stabilization using a plate construct. The purpose of this study was to determine the clinical and radiographic outcome after anterior plate fixation of odontoid fractures that were not suitable for anterior screw fixation.

METHODS: We reviewed the clinical and radiographic records of 9 patients with an average age of 54 years at the time of surgery who had undergone anterior plate fixation of an odontoid fracture. Indications for using a plate construct were odontoid fractures with anterior oblique fracture lines, fractures with comminution or major displacement, and pathological fractures.

RESULTS: Eight patients returned to their preinjury activity level and were satisfied with their treatment. One patient reported chronic pain symptoms and a notable decrease in cervical spine motion. Using the Smiley-Webster Scale to quantify their clinical outcome, we achieved an overall outcome score of 1.6. Bony fusion was achieved in all patients. Reduction or fixation failed in 2 patients. Reoperation for technical failures was not necessary in any of the patients.

CONCLUSION: We had promising results using anterior plate fixation for surgical treatment of odontoid fractures that did not allow interfragmentary fracture compression. Because this method avoids the rigid fixation of the atlantoaxial joint in contrast to techniques of posterior cervical arthrodesis, it seems to be a practical option for the management of fracture types that require additional stabilization of the odontoid.

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