Atlantoaxial subluxation

Atlantoaxial subluxation in the pediatric patient: Case series and literature review

Published on: 26th November, 2020

OCLC Number/Unique Identifier: 8799428362

Objective: Atlantoaxial subluxation (AAS) occurs when there is misalignment of the atlantoaxial joint. Several etiologies confer increased risk of AAS in children, including neck trauma, inflammation, infection, or inherent ligamentous laxity of the cervical spine. Methods: A single-center, retrospective case review was performed. Thirty-four patients with an ICD-10 diagnosis of S13.1 were identified. Demographics and clinical data were reviewed for etiology, imaging techniques, treatment, and clinical outcome. Results: Out of thirty-four patients, twenty-two suffered cervical spine trauma, seven presented with Grisel’s Syndrome, four presented with ligamentous laxity, and one had an unrecognizable etiology. Most diagnoses of cervical spine subluxation and/or instability were detected on computerized tomography (CT), while radiography and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) were largely performed for follow-up monitoring. Six patients underwent cervical spine fusion, five had halo traction, twelve wore a hard and/or soft collar without having surgery or halo traction, and eight were referred to physical therapy without other interventions. Conclusion: Pediatric patients with atlantoaxial subluxation may benefit from limited 3D CT scans of the upper cervical spine for accurate diagnosis. Conservative treatment with hard cervical collar and immobilization after reduction may be attempted, but halo traction and halo vest immobilization may be necessary. If non-operative treatment fails, cervical spine internal reduction and fixation may be necessary to maintain normal C1-C2 alignment.
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