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J Neurosurg Spine. 2014 Dec;21(6):929-37. doi: 10.3171/2014.8.SPINE13504. Epub 2014 Oct 3.

Endoscopic transnasal odontoidectomy without resection of nasal turbinates: clinical outcomes of 13 patients.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Neurological Institute, Taipei Veterans General Hospital; and.


Object The goal of the study was to report a series of consecutive patients who underwent endoscopic transnasal odontoidectomy (ETO) without resection of nasal turbinates. The techniques for this minimally invasive approach are described in detail. Methods The authors conducted a retrospective review of consecutive patients who underwent ETO for basilar invagination. All the patients had myelopathy caused by compression at the cervicomedullary junction, which required surgical decompression. Preoperative and postoperative data, including those from radiographic and clinical evaluations, were compared. Morbidity and mortality rates for the procedure are also reported in detail. Results Thirteen patients (6 men and 7 women) with a mean age of 52.7 years (range 24-72 years) were enrolled. The basilar invagination etiologies were rheumatoid arthritis (n = 5), trauma (n = 4), os odontoideum (n = 2), ankylosing spondylitis (n = 1), and postinfectious deformity (n = 1). The average follow-up duration was 51.2 months (range 0.3-105 months). One patient died 10 days after the operation as a result of meningitis caused by CSF leakage. Among the other 12 patients, the average postoperative Nurick grade (3.2) was significantly improved over that before the operation (4.1, p = 0.004). The mean (± SD) duration of postoperative intubation was 1.5 ± 2.1 days, and there was no need for perioperative tracheostomy or nasogastric tube feeding. There also was no postoperative velopharyngeal insufficiency. There were 6 (46%) intraoperative and 2 (15%) postoperative CSF leaks in the 13 patients in this series. Conclusions ETO is a viable and effective option for decompression at the ventral cervicomedullary junction. This approach is minimally invasive and causes little velopharyngeal insufficiency. The pitfall of this approach is the difficulty in repairing dural defects and subsequent CSF leakage.


ETO = endoscopic transnasal odontoidectomy; VA = vertebral artery; cervical; cervicomedullary junction; endoscopic transnasal odontoidectomy; velopharyngeal insufficiency

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