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Journal of Craniovertebral Junction and Spine
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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 64-69

Patient-reported outcome following nonsurgical management of type II odontoid process fractures in adults

1 Department of Neurosurgery, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa, USA
2 Department of Surgery, Section of Neurosurgery, The University of Chicago Medicine and Biological Sciences, Chicago, IL, USA
3 Aberdeen Medical School, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK
4 Department of Neurosurgery, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK

Correspondence Address:
Mahmoud H Kamel
Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Ward 205, Foresterhill Road, Aberdeen AB25 2ZN, Scotland
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0974-8237.199871

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Background: Transverse (type II) odontoid process fracture is among the most commonly encountered cervical spine fractures. Nonsurgical management through external immobilization is occasionally preferred to surgical management but is criticized for its higher rates of failure and lower patient satisfaction. Our aim is to analyze patient-reported outcomes in patients who underwent nonsurgical treatment for type II odontoid fractures. Methods: We identified patients >18-year-old who underwent external immobilization as a treatment for isolated type II odontoid fracture between 2007 and 2012. We collected demographic parameters, clinical presentation, mode of injury, imaging studies and modality and duration of treatment (soft collar, halo-vest, or both). Patients were contacted by telephone to participate in a 15-min survey addressing their recovery including their subjective rate of return to preinjury level of functioning. Results: Fifteen patients met the inclusion/exclusion criteria and participated in our survey. Patients were followed up for an average of 19 months after injury. Overall mean age was 61 years. Injury followed a mechanical fall or a road traffic accident in 11 and 4 cases, respectively. External immobilization was achieved by halo vest only in nine patients, soft collar only in two patients (13%), and through a sequential combination in the remaining 4 (27%). This was deployed for a mean of 7.8 months. Radiological studies at the last follow-up showed bony healing (27%), fibrous nonunion (60%), and persistent instability (13%). Patients reported gradual recovery of function throughout the 1st year after injury with levels above 70% of preinjury functioning achieved by 13% of patients at 6 months, 33% at 9 months, and 47% at 12 months. Overall satisfaction with nonsurgical management was 68%. Conclusion: In selected patients with type II odontoid fractures, external immobilization represents a good option with acceptable course of recovery.

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