Management of Severe Lower Cervical Facet Dislocation without Vertebral Body Fracture Using Skull Traction and an Anterior Approach.

Research paper by De-Chao DC Miao, Can C Qi, Feng F Wang, Kuan K Lu, Yong Y Shen

Indexed on: 04 Mar '18Published on: 04 Mar '18Published in: Medical science monitor : international medical journal of experimental and clinical research


BACKGROUND Cervical facet dislocation is the anterior displacement of one cervical vertebral body on another. The aim of this study was to evaluate the clinical efficacy of skull traction through an anterior cervical approach in the treatment of severe lower cervical facet dislocation without vertebral body fracture. MATERIAL AND METHODS Forty subjects with severe lower cervical facet dislocation, without vertebral body fracture, were treated between February 2010 and December 2013. Road traffic accident was the primary cause of injury. Patients presented with dislocated segments in C3-C4 (n=4), C4-C5 (n=4), C5-C6 (n=12), and C6-C7 (n=20). Twenty-six patients had unilateral facet dislocation, and 14 patients had bilateral facet dislocation. Spinal injuries were graded according to the American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) impairment scale and included grade A (eight cases), grade B (six cases), grade C (six cases), grade D (12 cases), and grade E (eight cases). The mean follow-up time was 4.2 years. RESULTS All procedures were completed successfully, with no major complications. Postoperative X-rays showed satisfactory height for the cervical intervertebral space and recovery of the vertebral sequence. Bone fusion was completed within four to six months after surgery. Surgery significantly improved neurological function in all patients. CONCLUSIONS Skull traction and an anterior approach can be used to successfully treat severe lower cervical facet dislocation, obtaining complete decompression, good reduction, and maintenance of intervertebral height with retention of the physiological curvature of the cervical spine.