Author(s): Salunke P, Futane S, Sahoo SK, Ghuman MS, Khandelwal N
Abstract Share this page
Abstract OBJECT: Stabilization of the craniovertebral junction (CVJ) by using lateral masses requires extensive dissection. The vertebral artery (VA) is commonly anomalous in patients with congenital CVJ anomaly. Such a vessel is likely to be injured during dissection or screw placement. In this study the authors discuss the importance of preoperative evaluation and certain intraoperative steps that reduce the chances of injury to such vessels. METHODS: A 3D CT angiogram was obtained in 15 consecutive patients undergoing surgery for congenital atlantoaxial dislocation. The course of the VA and its relationship to the C1-2 facets was studied in these patients. The anomalous VA was exposed intraoperatively, facet surfaces were drilled in all, and the screws were placed according to the disposition of the vessel. RESULTS: A skeletal anomaly was found in all 10 patients who had an anomalous VA. Four types of variations were noted: 1) the first intersegmental artery in 5 patients (bilateral in 1); 2) fenestration of VA in 1 patient; 3) anomalous posterior inferior cerebellar artery crossing the C1-2 joint in 1 patient; and 4) medial loop of VA in 5 patients. The anomalous vessel was dissected and the facet surfaces were drilled in all. The C-1 lateral mass screw was placed under vision, taking care not to compromise the anomalous vessel, although occipital screws or sublaminar wires were used in the initial cases. A medial loop of the VA necessitated placement of transpedicular or C-2 lateral mass screws instead of pars interarticularis screws. The anomalous vessel was injured in none. CONCLUSIONS: Preoperative 3D CT angiography is a highly useful method of imaging the artery in patients with CVJ anomaly. It helps in identifying the anomalous VA or its branch and its relationship to the C1-2 facets. The normal side should be surgically treated and distracted first because this helps in opening the abnormal side, aiding in dissection. In the posterior approach the C-2 nerve root is always encountered before the anomalous vessel. The defined vascular anatomy helps in choosing the type of screw. The vessel should be mobilized so as to aid the drilling of facets and the placement of screws and spacers under vision, avoiding its injury (direct or indirect) or compression. With these steps, C1-2 (short segment) rigid fusion can be achieved despite the presence of anomalous VA.
This article was published in J Neurosurg Spine
and referenced in Orthopedic & Muscular System: Current Research