Axis (C2) screw fixation has been shown to be effective in treating disorders that necessitate cervical stabilization. Although translaminar C2 screws have demonstrated clinical efficacy in adults, this technique has not yet been thoroughly investigated in children. This study describes the indications, technique, and results of translaminar C2 screw fixation in a case series of pediatric cervical spine disorders.
We searched the orthopaedic database at our institution for patients who had undergone a cervical spinal fusion that encompassed C2 between 2007 and 2017. Operative records were reviewed to determine if C2 screw fixation was performed and, if so, the type of C2 screw fixation. Clinical data with regard to patient age at surgery, diagnosis, procedure details, intraoperative complications, and postoperative complications were recorded. Preoperative and postoperative computer tomographic scans were reviewed to determine laminar measurements and containment, respectively.
In total, 39 C2 translaminar screws were placed in 23 patients that met our inclusion criteria. The mean age was 12.6 years (range, 5.2 to 17.8 y) with a mean of 2 levels fused (range, 1 to 6). Diagnoses included 7 patients with instability related to skeletal dysplasia, 6 os odontoideum, 4 congenital deformities, 3 basilar invaginations, 2 cervical spine tumors, and 1 fracture. Indications for C2 translaminar screws included 14 cases with distorted anatomy favoring C2 translaminar screws, 6 cases without explicit reasoning for translaminar screw usage in the patient records, and 3 cases with intraoperative vertebral artery injury (1 sacrificed secondary to tumor load and 2 others injured during exposure because of anomalous anatomy). The vertebral artery injuries were not due to placement of any instrumentation. There were no screw-related intraoperative or postoperative complications and no neurological injuries. All patients demonstrated clinical union or healing on follow-up with no episodes of nonunion.
Translaminar C2 screw fixation can be reliably used in the pediatric population. Our series contained no screw-related complications, no neurological injuries, and all patients demonstrated clinical union or healing.
Level of Evidence:
Level IV—Case series.