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C1 fracture in a patient with a congenital cleft in the posterior arch: report on a failed conservative treatment


Hudek, Robert; Wanner, Guido; Simmen, Hans-Peter; Werner, Clément M L (2013). C1 fracture in a patient with a congenital cleft in the posterior arch: report on a failed conservative treatment. BMJ Case Reports:online.

Abstract

Unstable burst fractures of the atlas require sufficient immobilisation either with an external device or by surgical fusion. In patients with pre-existing congenital atlantal defects the decision whether to recommend non-operative or operative therapy is difficult. Treatment options are controversially discussed and standardised guidelines are not available. Although most surgeons advise operative fusion or osteosynthesis in atlanto-axial instability, non-operative immobilisation can be successful. We report on a patient with an unstable C1 burst fracture with a congenital posterior cleft in the atlantal arch who was treated with cervical extension and halovest immobilisation. Although callus bridging was initially observed, 9 months after the injury there was no sufficient fracture consolidation and surgical fusion had to be advised. While non-operative treatment may work in patients without congenital defects of the C1 arch, such is not recommended in patients who present with this anomaly.

Abstract

Unstable burst fractures of the atlas require sufficient immobilisation either with an external device or by surgical fusion. In patients with pre-existing congenital atlantal defects the decision whether to recommend non-operative or operative therapy is difficult. Treatment options are controversially discussed and standardised guidelines are not available. Although most surgeons advise operative fusion or osteosynthesis in atlanto-axial instability, non-operative immobilisation can be successful. We report on a patient with an unstable C1 burst fracture with a congenital posterior cleft in the atlantal arch who was treated with cervical extension and halovest immobilisation. Although callus bridging was initially observed, 9 months after the injury there was no sufficient fracture consolidation and surgical fusion had to be advised. While non-operative treatment may work in patients without congenital defects of the C1 arch, such is not recommended in patients who present with this anomaly.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Department of Trauma Surgery
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:13 June 2013
Deposited On:12 Dec 2013 14:05
Last Modified:08 Dec 2017 00:56
Publisher:BMJ Publishing Group
ISSN:1757-790X
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1136/bcr-2013-008872
PubMed ID:23771964

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