Conservative Management of Type II Odontoid Fractures in Older People

Neurosurgery 2020 DOI:10.1093/neuros/nyaa256

Type II odontoid fractures are a common cervical fracture in older people. Lower osseous-union rates are reported in those treated conservatively compared to surgically; however, the clinical relevance of a nonunion is unknown.

OBJECTIVE: To compare pain, disability, and quality of life in older people following conservativemanagement of type II odontoid fractures demonstrating osseous-union and nonunion.

METHODS: Electronic records were searched from 2008 to 2018 for adults ≥65 yr with type II odontoid fracture, managed in a semi-rigid collar. Clinical and demographic data were retrieved from electronic patient notes. Surviving patients were invited to complete questionnaires to assess pain, disability, and quality of life. Ethical approval was granted.

RESULTS: A total of 125 patients were identified: 36 (29%) demonstrated osseous-union, 89 (71%) had nonunion, of which 33 (40%) had radiological instability. Mean age at fracture was 84 yr (osseous-union 83 yr; nonunion 84 yr). A total of 53 had deceased (41 nonunion). Median length of survival was 77 mo for osseous-union vs 50 mo for nonunion; P = .02. No patient developed myelopathy during the follow-up period. Questionnaire response rate was 39 (58%). There were no statistically significant differences between the groups in terms of pain, disability, or quality of life (P>.05). Both groups reported mild disability and pain but low quality of life.

CONCLUSION: Management with a semi-rigid collar in older people with type II odontoid fracture is associated with low levels of pain and disability without statistically significant differences between those demonstrating osseous-union or stable or unstable nonunions. Conservative management appears to be a safe treatment for older people with type II fractures.

The Naso-Axial Line: A New Method of Accurately Predicting the Inferior Limit of the Endoscopic Endonasal Approach to the Craniovertebral Junction

The Naso-Axial Line- A New Method of Accurately Predicting the Inferior Limit of the Endoscopic Endonasal Approach to the Craniovertebral Junction

Neurosurgery 71[ONS Suppl 2]:ons308–ons314, 2012

The endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) has developed as an emerging surgical corridor to the craniovertebral junction (CVJ). In addition to understanding its indications and surgical anatomy, the ability to predict its inferior limit is vital for optimal surgical planning.

OBJECTIVE: To develop a method that accurately predicts the inferior limit of the EEA on the CVJ radiologically and to compare this with other currently used methods.

METHODS: Predissection computerized tomographic scans of 9 cadaver heads were used to delineate a novel line, the naso-axial line (NAxL), to predict the inferior EEA limit on the upper cervical spine. A previously described method with the use of the nasopalatine line (NPL or Kassam line) was also used. On computerized tomographic scans obtained following dissection of the EEA, the predicted inferior limits were compared with the actual extent of dissection.

RESULTS: The postdissection inferior EEA limit ranged from the dens tip to the upper half of the C2 body, which matched the limit predicted by NAxL, with no statistically significant difference between them. In contrast to the NAxL, the NPL predicted a significantly lower EEA limit (P , .001), ranging from the lower half of the C2 body to the superior end plate of C3.

CONCLUSION: The novel NAxL more accurately predicts the inferior limit of the EEA than the NPL. This method, which can be easily used on preoperative sagittal scans, accounts for variations in patients’ anatomy and can aid surgeons in the assessment of the EEA to address caudal CVJ pathology.