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Year : 2008  |  Volume : 42  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 83-86

Fibular allograft and anterior plating for dislocations/fractures of the cervical spine

Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Nelson R Mandela Medical School, University of KwaZulu - Natal, South Africa

Correspondence Address:
S Govender
Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Nelson R Mandela Medical School, University of KwaZulu - Natal
South Africa
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5413.38587

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Background: Subaxial cervical spine dislocations are common and often present with neurological deficit. Posterior spinal fusion has been the gold standard in the past. Pain and neck stiffness are often the presenting features and may be due to failure of fixation and extension of fusion mass. Anterior spinal fusion which is relatively atraumatic is thus favored using autogenous grafts and cages with anterior plate fixation. We evaluated fresh frozen fibular allografts and anterior plate fixation for anterior fusion in cervical trauma. Materials and Methods: Sixty consecutive patients with single-level dislocations or fracture dislocations of the subaxial cervical spine were recruited in this prospective study following a motor vehicle accident. There were 38 males and 22 females. The mean age at presentation was 34 years (range 19-67 years). The levels involved were C5/6 ( n = 36), C4/5 ( n = 15), C6/7 ( n = 7) and C3/4 ( n = 2). There were 38 unifacet dislocations with nine posterior element fractures and 22 were bifacet dislocations. Twenty-two patients had neurological deficit. Co-morbidities included hypertension ( n = 6), non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus ( n = 2) and asthma ( n = 1). All patients were initially managed on skull traction. Following reduction further imaging included Computerized Tomography and Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Patients underwent anterior surgery (discectomy, fibular allograft and plating). All patients were immobilized in a Philadelphia collar for eight weeks (range 7-12 weeks). Eight patients were lost to follow-up within a year. Follow-up clinical and radiological examinations were performed six-weekly for three months and subsequently at three-monthly intervals for 12 months. Pain was analyzed using the visual analogue scale (VAS). The mean follow-up was 19 months (range 14-39 months). Results: Eight lost to followup, hence 52 patients were considered for final evaluation. The neurological recovery was 1.1 Frankel grades (range 0-3) and two patients with root involvement recovered. At six months bony trabeculae at the graft-vertebrae interface were noted. There were 12 (20 %) cases of graft collapse and one case of angulation which showed no progression. At six months the VAS was 3 (range 0-6). There was no limitation of neck motion at six months in 47 patients. Conclusion: Fresh frozen fibular allografts are suitable and cost-effective for anterior fusion in cervical trauma.

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