Document Detail

Treatment algorithm for dens fractures: non-halo immobilization, anterior screw fixation, or posterior transarticular c1-c2 fixation.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23032595     Owner:  NLM     Status:  In-Data-Review    
BACKGROUND: The appropriate treatment of dens fractures is unclear. We established a staged treatment protocol for dens fractures and conducted a prospective study to evaluate the outcome of treatment based on this protocol.
METHODS: We prospectively evaluated sixty-nine consecutive patients who presented to our institution with a dens fracture. The mean duration of follow-up was 9.7 months (range, six to fifty-eight months). Fractures were categorized as stable or unstable. Stable fractures were treated by immobilization in a rigid collar. Patients seventy-five years or older with unstable fractures, patients with a neurological deficit, and patients with Anderson and D'Alonzo type-III fractures underwent posterior transarticular C1-C2 stabilization. Unstable fractures in patients younger than seventy-five years were stabilized with direct anterior screw fixation. Thirty-one patients were treated with a Philadelphia collar, twenty-five with posterior transarticular fixation, and thirteen with direct anterior screw fixation.
RESULTS: Fracture-healing or solid fusion of C1-C2 was documented in sixty-eight of sixty-nine treated patients at final follow-up. The remaining patient had a stable nonunion of the dens. Secondary procedures were performed in five patients.
CONCLUSIONS: Our treatment algorithm based on dens fracture type, fracture stability, and patient age was associated with a high success rate. Evaluating fracture stability is crucial when considering nonoperative treatment. External stabilization with a rigid cervical collar was adequate for stable fractures of the dens and was associated with a high healing rate. Posterior transarticular screw fixation of C1-C2 was associated with a high success rate, including in elderly patients.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Therapeutic Level III. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.
Markus R Konieczny; Arnold Gstrein; Ernst J Müller
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  The Journal of bone and joint surgery. American volume     Volume:  94     ISSN:  1535-1386     ISO Abbreviation:  J Bone Joint Surg Am     Publication Date:  2012 Oct 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-10-03     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0014030     Medline TA:  J Bone Joint Surg Am     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  e1441-6     Citation Subset:  AIM; IM    
Department of Traumatology, General Hospital Klagenfurt, Academic Teaching Hospital of the University of Graz, Schlossmannstrasse 11, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany. E-mail address for M.R. Konieczny: E-mail address for A. Gstrein: E-mail address for E.J. Müller:
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