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Eur Spine J. 2012 May;21 Suppl 1:S94-9. doi: 10.1007/s00586-012-2216-0. Epub 2012 Mar 13.

Atlantoaxial rotatory dislocation (AARD) in pediatric age: MRI study on conservative treatment with Philadelphia collar--experience of nine consecutive cases.

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Division of Neurosurgery, Department of Neurology and Psychiatry, University of Rome Sapienza, Viale del Policlinico 155, 00161 Rome, Italy.



Atlantoaxial rotatory fixation and atlantoaxial rotatory subluxation are the most frequent manifestations of atlantoaxial rotatory dislocation (AARD) in pediatric population and are often treated conservatively. The objective of this study is to correlate the changes highlighted on MRI T2-weighted and STIR sequences with the duration of conservative treatment.


We analyzed nine consecutive patients treated surgically between 1 Jan 2006 and 1 Jan 2010 at the Policlinico Umberto I of Rome. All patients underwent cervical X-ray, computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) (T1 and T2-weighted, STIR, angio MRI). All patients were treated with bed rest, muscle relaxants and cervical collar, and radiological follow-up with MRI and cervical X-ray was performed.


According to Fielding's classification, we observed seven patients with a type 1 subluxation and two patients with a type II subluxation. In type 1, STIR and T2 sequences showed a hyperintensity in the alar and capsular ligaments and in the posterior ligamentous system, with integrity of the transverse ligament (LTA). In type 2, the hyperintensity also involved the LTA. During the follow-up, MRI showed a progressive reduction until the disappearance of the hyperintensity described, which was followed by a break with orthotic immobilization.


MRI with STIR sequences appears to be useful in addressing the duration of conservative treatment in AARD.

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