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J Neurosurg. 1996 Aug;85(2):340-3.

Arteriovenous fistula as a complication of C1-2 transarticular screw fixation. Case report and review of the literature.

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  • 1Department of Neurosurgery, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA.


A case is reported of a vertebral artery-to-epidural venous plexus fistula as a complication of posterior atlantoaxial facet screw fixation. The use of transarticular screws to stabilize the C1-2 joint has become an increasingly popular fixation technique, most notably for atlantoaxial instability due to trauma or rheumatoid disease. Despite the fact that this approach is technically challenging, there have been few reports of complications associated with C1-2 transarticular fixation. Although damage to the vertebral artery is a documented hazard of transarticular fixation at this level, a symptomatic arteriovenous fistula resulting from the procedure has not been described previously. The etiology, presentation, and treatment of this unusual complication are discussed.

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