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Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2009 Nov 15;34(24):2642-5. doi: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e3181b435e4.

The kinematic relationships of the upper cervical spine.

Author information

1
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

Abstract

STUDY DESIGN:

A retrospective radiographic study.

OBJECTIVE:

To elucidate the kinematic relationships of the upper cervical spine.

SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA:

To our knowledge, few reports have described the kinematic relationships of the upper cervical spine in patients with general age-related cervical spondylosis.

METHODS:

We performed Kinetic magnetic resonance imaging for 295 consecutive patients experiencing neck pain without neurologic symptoms. Subjects with rheumatoid arthritis, traumatic history, and severe degenerative changes in the upper cervical spine were excluded. Anterior atlantodens interval (AADI) and the cervicomedullary angle in 3 different postures were measured, and the variations in each value between flexion and neutral (F-N), neutral and extension (N-E), and flexion and extension (F-E) were calculated. The subjects were classified into 3 groups according to the space available for the cord values (A: <or=14 mm, B: 14-15 mm, C: >or=15 mm).

RESULTS:

AADI significantly increased from extension to flexion posture, however, no significant differences were observed in every posture among the groups. F-N variation in AADI showed no significant differences among the groups; however, N-E variation between Groups A and C and between Groups B and C and F-E variation between Groups A and C showed significant differences. The cervicomedullary angle significantly increased from flexion to extension posture, however, no significant differences were observed in every posture among the groups. Angle variations among the groups showed no significant differences, except for F-N angle variation between Groups B and C. None of the variations in AADI and the cervicomedullary angle were significantly correlated.

CONCLUSION:

Our results suggest that only the kinematics of the atlantoaxial movement, especially the posterior movement, was greatly affected by the narrowing of space available for the cord. The central atlantoaxial joint may be closely related to the mechanisms for protecting the spinal cord by restriction of the atlantoaxial movement.

PMID:
19910767
DOI:
10.1097/BRS.0b013e3181b435e4
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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