Asian Spine J.  2011 Dec;5(4):258-261. 10.4184/asj.2011.5.4.258.

Guidewire Breakage: An Unusual Complication of Anterior Odontoid Cannulated Screw Fixation

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Spine Surgery, Neurosciences Center, King Fahad Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. tamerorief@yahoo.com

Abstract

The preferred treatment of a type II odontoid fracture is anterior odontoid screw fixation to preserve the cervical spine range of movement. This case report describes an unusual complication of guidewire breakage during anterior odontoid cannulated screw fixation for a 52-year-old patient who presented with a type II odontoid fracture after a motor vehicle accident. The distal segment of the guidewire was bent over the tip of the cannulated odontoid screw and broke off during guidewire withdrawal. The three months follow-up computed tomography examination of the cervical spine showed acceptable screw placement, good odontoid process alignment with incomplete fusion, and no migration of the fractured segment of the guidewire. It is recommended that the guidewire be withdrawn once the cannulated screw is passed through the fractured site into the odontoid process and a new guidewire be used in each surgical procedure instead of been reused to avoid metal stress fatigue that can result in easy breakage.

Keyword

Odontoid; Fracture; Complication; Guidewire; Breakage
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