Computed Tomography-Based Feasibility Study of C1 Posterior Arch Crisscrossing Screw Fixation.

Research paper by Gururaj G Sangondimath, Abhinandan Reddy AR Mallepally, Suman S Salimath

Indexed on: 09 Jan '20Published on: 08 Jan '20Published in: Asian spine journal


Retrospective radiographic analysis. Posterior fixation of C1 using screws is the most popular technique among the various methods for C1 stabilization, but it places the surrounding neurovascular structures at risk. Approximately 20% of the population has an anomalous groove for the vertebral artery; therefore, salvage methods are necessary. Therefore, we analyzed the feasibility of a newer C1 posterior arch crisscrossing screw fixation technique and studied its feasibility in the Indian population on the basis of the anatomy of the C1 posterior arch. Multiple techniques have been described for C1-C2 fixation, such as wiring techniques, interlaminar clamps, transarticular screws, screw-plate/screw-rod system fixation, and hook-screw system fixation techniques, to provide rigid C1-C2 stability. However, although C1 fixation has evolved with time, it is not complication-free. A 100 computed tomography (CT) scans of cervical spines with 1 mm slice thickness in the axial and sagittal sections obtained were randomly selected for the evaluation. Atlantoaxial anomalies due to trauma, deformities, infections, and tumors were excluded. All the images were measured for height of the posterior tubercle, width of the posterior arch, and length of the screw, and the screw projection angle was calculated. Demographic data were collected for all the subjects. Out of the 88 CT scans analyzed, the mean height of the posterior tubercle was 7.4 mm, wherein 84.09% exceeded 7 mm, and the width of the posterior tubercle was 5.4 mm, wherein 88.6% (n=78) had posterior arch width >3.5 mm. A total of 13.6% (n=12) vertebrae were not suitable for screw placement, whereas 75% (n=66) vertebrae could accommodate 3.5×15 mm or longer screws. The screw projection angles ranged from 11.2° to 35° on the right and from 15.6° to 38.2° on the left. C1 posterior arch screw fixation is a feasible and safe method because it poses little risk of injury to the surrounding neurovascular structures.