Background: The use of a transoral atlantoaxial reduction plate (TARP) system is an effective surgical approach for the treatment of basilar invagination. With the aim of improving the therapeutic efficacy of the TARP operation, we conducted a voxel-based morphometric study to quantitatively investigate the descent of the odontoid process and craniocervical volume changes.
Methods: We enrolled 20 patients with basilar invagination who underwent a TARP procedure. Craniocervical computed tomography (CT) scanning and a 3-dimensional (3-D) reconstruction of the craniocervical junction were performed. Craniocervical volumes and odontoid process descent distances were measured preoperatively and postoperatively. Individual neurological function was evaluated according to the Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) scoring system for cervical disorders. Pearson correlation analysis was applied for statistical testing.
Results: Surgical efficacy (the JOA-score improvement rate) was significantly associated with the craniocervical volume improvement rate, the odontoid descent distance, and the absolute craniocervical volume changes (p < 0.01 for all), with correlation coefficients (r) of 0.83, 0.80, and 0.61, respectively. No significant correlation was noted between surgical efficacy and age, symptom duration, preoperative neurological function, odontoid process displacement, or change in clivus-odontoid angle (p > 0.05). The craniocervical volume improvement rate was significantly associated with the odontoid descent distance (r = 0.8; p < 0.01), but it was not associated with the odontoid displacement or the change in the clivus-odontoid angle (p > 0.05).
Conclusions: We found that the odontoid descent distance predicted the craniocervical volume improvement rate following TARP procedures in patients with basilar invagination, and we believe that both can serve as predictors of surgical efficacy. We believe that planning the odontoid descent distance preoperatively may help to improve the efficacy of TARP operations.
Level of Evidence: Prognostic Level III. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.
1Department of Orthopedics, Guangzhou General Hospital of Guangzhou Military Command, Guangzhou, People’s Republic of China
2No. 303 Hospital of People’s Liberation Army, Nanning, People’s Republic of China
3Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, People’s Republic of China
4Institute of Traumatic Orthopaedics of People’s Liberation Army, Guangzhou, People’s Republic of China
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* Gejin Wei, MD, Chenglong Shi, MD, and Zhiyun Wang, MD, PhD, contributed equally to the writing of this article.