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Neurosurgery. 2013 Jun;72(6):1040-53; discussion 1053. doi: 10.1227/NEU.0b013e31828bf342.

Distraction, compression, and extension reduction of basilar invagination and atlantoaxial dislocation: a novel pilot technique.

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Department of Neurosurgery, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, India.



The management of basilar invagination (BI) and atlantoaxial dislocation (AAD) is a challenge.


To describe a new innovative method to reduce BI and AAD through a single-stage posterior approach.


Thirty-five patients had irreducible BI and AAD (May 2010 to April 2012). In all patients, reduction of AAD and BI was achieved by using an innovative method of distraction and spacer placement, followed by compression and extension. A C1 lateral mass/C2 translaminar screw was performed in cases where the C1 arch was not assimilated, and occipito-C2 translaminar screw fixation was performed in cases where the C1 arch was assimilated.


Thirty-two of 35 (94%) patients improved clinically and 2 patients had stable symptoms (mean Nurick postoperative score = 1.4; preoperative score = 3.7). AAD reduced completely in 33/35 patients and >50% in 2. BI improved significantly in all patients. Solid bone fusion was demonstrated in 24 patients with at least 1-year follow-up (range, 12-39 months; mean, 19.75 + 7.09 months). The duration of surgery was 80 to 190 minutes, and blood loss was 90 to 500 mL (mean, 170 ± 35 mL). There was 1 death because of cardiac etiology and 1 morbidity (wound infection).


Distractive compressive extension and reduction of BI and AAD seems to be an effective and safe method of treatment. It is different from the earlier described techniques, because it is the first procedure that uses a spacer not, only for distraction, but also as a pivot to perform extension to reduce the AAD.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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