Usefulness of titanium mesh cage for posterior C1–C2 fixation in patients with atlantoaxial instability

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Abstract

The aim of this study was to investigate the usefulness of titanium mesh cage as an interlaminar spacer combined with nitinol shape memory loop fixation in patients with atlantoaxial instability.

From April 2009 to March 2017, among the patients with atlantoaxial instability, a total of 30 patients were treated by nitinol shape memory loop fixation combined with titanium mesh cage as a spacer. We retrospectively reviewed 30 enrolled patients. Successful fusion was determined as improvement of symptoms and radiologic findings of bone fusion. We also reviewed surgical complications, instrumentation failure, bony fusion rate, and posterior atlantodental interval (PADI).

After surgery, the symptoms of all patients significantly improved. Successful fusion was documented throughout the follow-up period. Evidence of solid bridging bone was found, and no instability was seen on flexion–extension radiographs and callus formation on 3D cervical spine computed tomography (CT) 6 months postoperatively in all cases. No surgical complications were observed. No cases of instrumentation failure were observed. The mean PADI also improved significantly to 22.45 ± 1.11 mm 6 months postoperatively compared with the preoperative value of 18.37 ± 1.16 mm (P < .05).

We obtained a good fusion rate by using titanium mesh cage spacer with nitinol shape memory alloy loop in patients with atlantoaxial instability. This technique can help surgeons in avoiding vertebral artery injury and reducing bleeding and operation time. Therefore, we suggest that titanium mesh cage spacer combined with nitinol shape memory alloy loop can be a good substitute of autograft for C1–C2 fusion in treating atlantoaxial instabilities.

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