Mika P. Koivikko, Pertti Myllynen, Seppo Santavirta

August 2004, Volume 13, Issue 7, pp 610 - 616 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-004-0688-2

First Online: 06 August 2004

We compared clinical outcomes following conservative treatment of subaxial fracture dislocations of the cervical spine and posterior fusion using bone grafts and interspinous Roger’s wiring (Bohlman modification). We reviewed 106 patients: 51 were treated primarily surgically, and 55 treated conservatively served as historical controls. Those patients who neurologically recovered at least one Frankel grade had on average less displacement on discharge (1.3 mm vs 3.1 mm, p=0.04). Although anatomical outcomes were better in the operatively treated group (1.6 mm vs 2.9 mm displacement at end of follow-up, p=0.001), there was no difference in neurological recovery. Late neck pain correlated with residual displacement (p=0.04) and was more common in the conservatively treated patients (p=0.01). Time in hospital was shorter in the group with posterior fusions, and complication rates were similar to those found after conservative treatment. A significant number of the conservatively treated patients developed kyphotic deformity, and 29% needed later surgery because of chronic instability or unacceptable anatomical results.

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