J Korean Neurosurg Soc.  2011 Jun;49(6):345-350. 10.3340/jkns.2011.49.6.345.

Is All Anterior Oblique Fracture Orientation Really a Contraindication to Anterior Screw Fixation of Type II and Rostral Shallow Type III Odontoid Fractures?

  • 1Department of Neurosurgery, Kyungpook National University Hospital, Daegu, Korea. jksung@knu.ac.kr


It is debatable whether an anterior oblique fracture orientation is really a contraindication to anterior odontoid screw fixation. The purpose of this study was to investigate the feasibility of anterior odontoid screw fixation of type II and rostral shallow type III fracture with an anterior oblique fracture orientation.
The authors evaluated 16 patients with type II and rostral shallow type III odontoid fracture with an anterior oblique fracture orientation. Of these 16 patients, 8 (group 1) were treated by anterior odontoid screw fixation, and 8 (group 2) by a posterior C1-2 arthrodesis.
Of the 8 patients in group 1, seven patients achieved solid bone fusion (87.5%), and one experienced screw back-out of the C-2 body two months after anterior screw fixation. All patients treated by posterior C1-C2 fusion in group 2 achieved successful bone fusion. Mean fracture displacements and fracture gaps were not significantly different in two groups. (p=0.075 and 0.782). However, mean fracture orientation angles were 15.3+/-3.2 degrees in group 1, and 28.6+8.1 degrees in group 2 (p=0.002), and mean fragment angulations were 3.2+/-2.1 degrees in group 1, and 14.8+/-6.7 degrees in group 2 (p=0.001).
Even when the fracture lines of type II and rostral shallow type III fractures are oriented in an anterior oblique direction, anterior odontoid screw fixation can be feasible in carefully selected patients with a relatively small fracture orientation angle and relatively small fragment angulation.


Fracture; Fracture orientation; Internal fixation; Odontoid process
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