Occipitocervical Fixation: A Single Surgeon's Experience with 120 Patients

Eduardo Martinez-Del-Campo, Jay D. Turner, Samuel Kalb, Leonardo Rangel-Castilla, Luis Perez-Orribo, Hector Soriano-Baron, Nicholas Theodore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Occipitocervical junction instability can lead to serious neurological injury or death. Open surgical fixation is often necessary to provide definitive stabilization. However, long-term results are limited to small case series. OBJECTIVE: To review the causes of occipitocervical instability, discuss the indications for surgical intervention, and evaluate long-term surgical outcomes after occipitocervical fixation. METHODS: The charts of all patients undergoing posterior surgical fixation of the occipitocervical junction by the senior author were retrospectively reviewed. A total of 120 consecutive patients were identified for analysis. Patient demographic characteristics, occipitocervical junction pathology, surgical indications, and clinical and radiographic outcomes are reported. RESULTS: The study population consisted of 64 male and 56 female patients with a mean age of 39.9 years (range, 7 months to 88 years). Trauma was the most common cause of instability, occurring in 56 patients (47%). Ninety patients (75%) were treated with screw/rod constructs; wiring was used in 30 patients (25%). The median number of fixated segments was 5 (O-C4). Structural bone grafts were implanted in all patients (100%). Preoperative neurological deficits were present in 83 patients (69%); 91% of those patients improved with surgery. Mean follow-up was 35.1 ± 27.4 months (range, 0-123 months). Two patients died, and 10 were lost to follow-up before the end of the 6-month follow-up period. Fusion was confirmed in 107 patients (89.1%). The overall complication rate was 10%, including 3 patients with vertebral artery injuries and 2 patients who required revision surgery. CONCLUSION: Occipitocervical fixation is a durable treatment option with acceptable morbidity for patients with occipitocervical instability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)549-560
Number of pages12
JournalNeurosurgery
Volume79
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • ccipitocervical
  • Craniovertebral
  • Fixation
  • Fusion
  • Long-term
  • Outcome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology

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