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Global Spine J. 2013 Mar;3(1):21-32. doi: 10.1055/s-0033-1337122. Epub 2013 Mar 5.

Functional outcomes, morbidity, mortality, and fracture healing in 58 consecutive patients with geriatric odontoid fracture treated with cervical collar or posterior fusion.

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Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York.


Controversy exists as to the most effective management option for elderly patients with type II odontoid fractures. The purpose of this study is to evaluate outcomes associated with rigid cervical collar and posterior fusion surgery. Patients with ≥ 50% odontoid displacement were treated with posterior fusion surgery including C1-2 (PSF group, n = 25, average age = 80 years). Patients with < 50% odontoid displacement were treated with a rigid cervical collar for 12 weeks (collar group, n = 33, average age = 83 years). These inhomogeneous groups were followed for an average of 14 months. Fracture healing rates were higher in the operative group (28% versus 6%). Neck Disability Index scores were slightly lower in the nonoperative group (13 versus 18.3, p = 0.23). Analogue pain scores were also slightly lower in the nonoperative group (1.3 versus 1.9, p = 0.26). The mortality rate was 12.5% in the collar group and 20% in the operative group. Complications were higher in the operative group (24% versus 6%). Rates of type II odontoid facture healing and stability appear to be higher in geriatric patients treated with posterior fusion surgery. Fracture healing and stability did not correlate with improved outcomes with respect to levels of pain, function, and satisfaction. Mortality and complication rates are lower in those patients with lesser-displaced fractures who are treated with a cervical collar and early mobilization.


fracture; geriatric; management; nonoperative; odontoid; operative

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