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Eur Spine J. 2012 May;21(5):855-62. doi: 10.1007/s00586-011-2069-y. Epub 2011 Nov 18.

Rigid cervical collar treatment for geriatric type II odontoid fractures.

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  • 1Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, University of Rochester Medical Center, 601 Elmwood Ave., Box 665, Rochester, NY 14642, USA. Robert_Molinari@URMC.Rochester.edu



To evaluate fracture healing, functional outcomes, complications, and mortality associated with rigid cervical collars.


Thirty-four patients with <50% odontoid displacement were treated with a rigid cervical collar for 12 weeks (Average age = 84 years). Outcome scores were compared with a group of 40 age-matched control subjects (Average age 79.3).


At average 14.9-month follow-up, only 6% demonstrated radiographic evidence of fracture healing and 70% had mobile odontoid nonunion. NDI scores indicated only mild disability, pain scores were low, and neither differed significantly from age-matched controls. Mobile odontoid nonunion was not associated with higher levels of disability or neck pain. Mortality rate was 11.8%. Treatment complications occurred in 6% of patients.


Odontoid nonunion and instability are high in geriatric patients treated with a rigid cervical collar. Fracture healing and stability did not correlate with improved outcomes. Outcomes did not differ significantly from age-matched cohorts.

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