C. A. Logroscino, M. Genitiempo, S. Casula

June 2009, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 7 - 12 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-009-0985-x

First Online: 28 April 2009

We present a retrospective study on a series composed of 50 patients, treated between 1992 and 2006, affected by pathologies of the craniocervical junction. All the patients were treated using an innovative procedure based on a cranial claw made up of low profile hooks, conceived by one of the authors. Advantages of this technique are, to our point of view, a higher resistance to cranial hooks dislodgment, when compared with screw fixation instrumentation, especially in pathological conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis that leads to a qualitative deterioration of the bone stock and to the reduction of the occipital wall thickness. Occipitoaxial alignment was assessed radiographically using the McGregor line. We observed an improvement in the subjective evaluation of pain in all treated patients with a 46% improvement from the initial values. Moreover, patient stabilized with an occipitoaxial angle included in the physiological range showed better results either for the survival of the instrumentation or the onset of junctional pathology. Patients have been followed up afterwards and evaluated by the visual analogue scale for the assessment of pain and by the Nurick scale for the cases associated with myelopathy. We believe that cranial anchorage with a hook claw allows for an instrumentation provided with high stability, particularly useful in revision surgery and major instabilities. The study of the occipitoaxial angles showed that the better results and the long-lasting stability of the implant are correlated to a fusion angle included in the physiological range.

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