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Journal of Craniovertebral Junction and Spine
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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 9-16

Traumatic cervical spine spondyloptosis: A systematic review

Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Algiers University; Department of Neurosurgery, Mohamed Lamine Debaghine University Hospital (BEO), Algiers, Algeria

Correspondence Address:
Adel Khelifa
Department of Neurosurgery, Mohamed Lamine Debaghine University Hospital (BEO), Algiers
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jcvjs.jcvjs_132_21

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Background: Spondyloptosis is a rare presentation of cervical spine traumatism where listhesis is more than 100%. Traumatic cervical spine spondyloptosis (TCS) is one of the least discussed forms of cervical spine traumatisms because of its rarity and the gravity of patient's condition, limiting good management, and the number of reported cases. Objectives: This study aimed to discuss clinical, radiological, and best management tools of the aforementioned pathology. Materials and Methods: Scopus, ScienceDirect, PubMed, and Google Scholar databases were searched for English articles about traumatic cervical spondyloptosis. Titles, abstracts, or author-specified keywords that contain the words “spondyloptosis” AND “cervical” AND “spine” were identified. There were no time limits. In sum, 542 records were identified, 63 records were screened, and 46 records were included in this review, describing 64 clinical cases of traumatic cervical spondyloptosis. The clinical cases of two patients managed at our department are also presented and included. In the end, 66 cases were included in this study. Demographics, clinics, radiology, management tools, and outcome of the reviewed cases were discussed. This study was conducted in agreement with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses statement 2009. The American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale (AIS) score was used to evaluate the clinical presentations. Results: This review included 66 patients consisting of 46 males (70%) and 20 females (30%), with a mean age of 41 years. The accident was indicated in 62 cases; it was a road traffic accident in 29 cases (46%), a fall in 24 cases (38%), and motor vehicle accident in 15 cases (24%). The lesion was iatrogenic in four patients. Twenty-one patients were received without motor or sensitive deficit and so scored Grade E on AIS, 10 with Grade D, 11 Grade C, four Grade B, and 20 with Grade A. On imaging, spondyloptosis involved the C1–C2 segment in two cases (3%), C2–C3 in three cases (5.5%), C3–C4 in one case (1.5%), C4–C5 in six cases (9%), C5–C6 in nine cases (13%), C6–C7 in 20 cases (30%), and C7–T1 in 26 cases (38%). In all cases, there was either fracture or dislocation in posterior elements. Bilateral pedicles or facet joint fractures were noted in 53% of the 56 patients where the associated lesions were described, but it jumps to 89% when a vertebra is projected in front of another. In two cases, there was no mention of closed reduction via transcranial traction; in 13 cases (20%), it was avoided for a reason (child, patient's refusal,…). In the 51 cases where the traction was clearly applied, 17 cases (33%) were reduced totally; in 13 cases (25%) the reduction was partial; it failed in 19 cases (37%); and in the remaining cases, the result was not clear. Traction weight varied from 4 kg to 27.2 kg, applied from 6 h to 20 days. Where total reduction was achieved, an average weight of 11.9 kg with proximal average time of 6 days was needed, whereas an average of 11.5 kg was needed for partial reduction with proximal average time of 10 days. 62 patients were operated rather in one or two times. Anterior approach was used in 20 patients (32%), a posterior approach in 14 patients (23%), and combined anterior/posterior approaches in 28 patients (45%). In four patients, the outcome was not available; in the remaining 62 cases, an improvement of an initial deficit was noted in 25 patients (40%), conservation of an initial motor force integrity was noted in 19 patients (30%), and nine patients (14.5%) kept the same initial deficit. Few complications were declared: dura tears with cerebrospinal fluid leaks, meningitis, esophageal laceration, and vocal cord paralysis. There was a mortality of 11% (seven cases). Conclusion: Traumatic cervical spine spondyloptosis predominates in the lowest levels of the cervical spine, allowed in all cases by a failure in posterior elements. It is a lesion with the worst clinical presentation. Traumatic cervical spine spondyloptosis is highly instable, imposing urgent reduction followed by surgical stabilization. At the limit of the reviewed cases, outcome is in general good, but mortality is still important.

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