Surgical treatment for chronic atlantoaxial rotatory fixation in children

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Six consecutive pediatric patients with chronic atlantoaxial rotatory fixation (AARF) underwent posterior fixation. All patients were first treated conservatively such as with a neck collar, traction, Minerva jacket, or halo-vest; however, they failed to achieve successful reduction because of the C2 facet deformity or C1–2 facet fusion. We performed C1–2 fusion using a C1 lateral mass screw and a C2 pedicle screw, a C1–2 transarticular screw, or an occipitocervical fusion using a rod and wiring system. Five patients achieved solid fusion with no torticollis or neck pain by the final follow-up. One patient had mild torticollis after surgery but no pain. Although we believe that with early diagnosis of AARF and appropriate conservative treatment we can avoid surgery, even with conservative treatment from the onset of symptoms, five patients in our series required surgery because conservative treatment did not lead to successful reduction. When conservative treatment for chronic AARF patients fails, C1–2 transarticular fixation, and C1 lateral mass screw and C2 pedicle screw fixation are reliable methods to treat these patients.

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