Massimo Miscusi, Luca Ricciardi, Amedeo Piazza, Mattia Capobianco, Giorgio Lofrese, Michele Acqui, Sokol Trungu, Antonino Raco

September 2022, pp 1 - 8 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-022-07380-y

First Online: 17 September 2022


Anterior trans-articular C1–C2 screw placement can be considered as a surgical alternative in different conditions affecting the atlantoaxial region. While its rigidity is similar to posterior Magerl and Harms techniques, it also provides some surgical advantages. However, the literature lacks papers exhaustively describing indication criteria, surgical steps, and pitfalls.


This is a radiological study on 100 healthy subjects. Thin-layer CT scans of the craniovertebral junction were retrieved from the institutional database. The coronal inclination of the C1–C2 joint rim and the depth of the entry point of the screw with respect to the anterior profile of C2 were measured. The antero-posterior and the medio-lateral surgical corridors for the screw placement, and the wideness of the target area on the upper surface of C1 were also measured.


The multivariate analysis showed that the coronal inclination of the C1–C2 articular joint rim strongly influences the surface extension of the C1 target area; the depth of the entry point and the C1–C2 articular rim inclination seem to be independent factors in influencing both the medio-lateral and the antero-posterior surgical corridors wideness. A decisional algorithm on whether to perform an anterior or posterior approach to the atlantoaxial region was also proposed.


We can conclude that, as much as the C1–C2 articular rim is tending to the horizontal line, and as deeper is the entry point of the screw on the anterior profile of C2, as easier the anterior C1–C2 trans-articular screw placement will result.

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