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Orthop Traumatol Surg Res. 2012 Sep;98(5):543-51. doi: 10.1016/j.otsr.2012.03.011. Epub 2012 Aug 1.

Fracture of the lower cervical spine in patients with ankylosing spondylitis: Retrospective study of 19 cases.

Author information

1
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology, Carémeau Teaching Hospital center, place du Pr-Debré, 30029 Nîmes cedex 9, France. kouyoumdjian.p@wanadoo.fr

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Controversy exists surrounding optimal treatment of cervical spine fractures secondary to ankylosing spondylitis (AS).

HYPOTHESIS:

The anterior approach is an effective surgical technique for these fractures and can be used to correct the AS-induced cervical-thoracic kyphosis.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

This continuous, retrospective series between 1990 and 2010 included 19 patients aged 33 to 84 years who presented with a lower cervical spine fracture in the context of AS. The average follow-up was 45 months. Sixteen of these patients were surgically treated using an anterior approach and anterior fixation. In five patients without any neurological deficit, their cervical-thoracic kyphosis was corrected during the same surgery. Regional kyphosis was measured before the surgery, immediately after the surgery and at the last follow-up.

RESULTS:

Five deaths occurred; these were all patients with post-traumatic complete quadriplegia. Most the incomplete neurological problems improved (66%). In no cases did the neurological condition worsen. Among the 16 patients operated with the anterior approach, two patients also required an additional procedure with a posterior approach because of a persistent neurological deficit. The fractures in the operated patients who survived (14 patients) had healed within an average 4-month delay (range 3-7 months), without worsening of the kyphosis at final follow-up. In the five cases where the kyphosis was corrected, the correction averaged 26° (range 18-36°); there were no neurological complications.

DISCUSSION:

Based on these results, we suggest using the anterior approach to perform internal fixation as a treatment for cervical fractures secondary to AS and to correct the cervical-thoracic kyphosis in patients without neurological deficits.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:

Level IV - retrospective study.

PMID:
22858111
DOI:
10.1016/j.otsr.2012.03.011
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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