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Year : 2004  |  Volume : 52  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 338--341

Craniovertebral realignment for basilar invagination and atlantoaxial dislocation secondary to rheumatoid arthritis

Department of Neurosurgery, King Edward Memorial Hospital and Seth Gordhandas Sunderdas Medical College, Parel, Mumbai, India

Correspondence Address:
Atul Goel
Department of Neurosurgery, King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, Parel, Mumbai - 400 012
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 15472422

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Objective: We present our experience of treating nine consecutive cases of rheumatoid arthritis involving the craniovertebral junction by atlantoaxial joint manipulation and attempts towards restoration of craniovertebral region alignments. Material and results: Between November 2001 and March 2004, nine cases of rheumatoid arthritis involving the craniovertebral junction were treated in our department of neurosurgery. Six patients had basilar invagination and ‘fixed’ atlantoaxial dislocation and three patients had a retroodontoid process pannus and mobile and incompletely reducible atlantoaxial dislocation. The patients ranged from 24 to 74 years in age. Six patients were males and three were females. Neck pain and spastic quadriparesis were the most prominent symptoms. Surgery involved attempts to reduce the atlantoaxial dislocation and basilar invagination by manual distraction of the facets of the atlas and axis. Reduction of the atlantoaxial dislocation and of basilar invagination and stabilization of the region was achieved by placement of bone graft and metal spacers within the joint and direct inter-articular plate and screw method of atlantoaxial fixation. Following surgery all the patients showed symptomatic improvement and restoration of craniovertebral alignments. Follow-up ranged from four to 48 months (average 28 months). Conclusion: Manipulation of the atlantoaxial joints and restoring the anatomical craniovertebral alignments in selected cases of rheumatoid arthritis involving the craniovertebral junction leads to remarkable and sustained clinical recovery.


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Online since 20th March '04
Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow