Clinical Neuroscience

Management proposal for the treatment of acute odontoid fractures

RÓBERT Veres1, GILES Hamilton Vince2

JULY 20, 1994

Clinical Neuroscience - 1994;47(07-08)

Optimum management of the acute odontoid fracture has always been extensively discussed. Nowadays, with the availability of new operative techniques such as anterior odontoid screw fixation and the posterior C1-C2 transarticular screw fixation the management policy has to be reevaluated. The authors review 115 cases of type II and type III acute odontoid fractures admitted to the National Institute of Traumatology in Budapest between 1980 and 1990. For study purposes a modified Anderson-D'Alonzo classification was introduced allowing a more detailed description of the fracture components and thus enabling to find more clear guidelines for treatment planning. The patients were treated with: a. various types of non-Halo external fixation in 27 cases; b. Halo immobilization in 13 cases; c. various surgical procedures resulting in a loss of atlantoaxial joint function in 22 cases; d. anterior odontoid screw fixation in 53 cases. Modern therapy should be focused on preserving the function of the atlanto-axial joint whenever possible. This can be sufficiently achieved using anterior odontoid screw fixation. However, the main determining factor in the choice of the appropriate treatment - providing the ligaments are intact - is the direction and course of the fracture line. If the fracture line runs horizontal or oblique posterior anterior screw fixation is the most favourable treatment. On the other hand if the fracture line runs oblique anterior Halo immobilization or C1-C2 posterior fixation is the method of choice.

AFFILIATIONS

  1. Országos Traumatológiai Intézet, Idegsebészeti Osztály, Budapest
  2. University of Saarland, Department of Neurosurgery, Hamburg/Saar, Germany

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