Occipital Condyle Screw Placement in Patients with Chiari Malformation: A Radiographic Feasibility Analysis and Cadaveric Demonstration.

TitleOccipital Condyle Screw Placement in Patients with Chiari Malformation: A Radiographic Feasibility Analysis and Cadaveric Demonstration.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsKirnaz S, Gerges MM, Rumalla K, Bernardo A, Baaj AA, Greenfield JP
JournalWorld Neurosurg
Date Published2020 Apr
KeywordsAdolescent, Adult, Arnold-Chiari Malformation, Bone Screws, Cadaver, Child, Child, Preschool, Decompression, Surgical, Feasibility Studies, Female, Fracture Fixation, Internal, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Neuronavigation, Neurosurgical Procedures, Occipital Bone, Spinal Fusion, Tomography, X-Ray Computed, Treatment Outcome, Young Adult

OBJECTIVE: Patients who undergo decompression surgery for Chiari malformation frequently require occipitocervical fixation. This is typically performed with occipital plates, which may cause intracranial injuries due to multiple fixation points. We undertook this study to assess the feasibility of occipital condyle (OC) screw placement as an alternative method of occipitocervical fixation in this patient population.

METHODS: Using a cadaveric model with navigational assistance, we performed the complete surgical procedure for occipitocervical fixation with OC screws. We then performed a morphometric analysis using measurements from computed tomography scans of 49 patients (32 adult, 17 pediatric) who had undergone occipitocervical fusion with instrumentation following decompression surgery for Chiari malformation. Bilateral morphometric data were analyzed for the adult and pediatric subgroups separately, as well as for the overall group.

RESULTS: The surgical procedure was successfully performed in the cadaveric model, demonstrating the feasibility of the proposed method. Ninety-eight OCs were studied in the morphometric analysis, and 80 (81.6%) met our eligibility criteria for OC screw placement. However, in 14.1% of adult OCs and 26.5% of pediatric OCs studied, placement of condylar screws would have been challenging or unsafe, according to our criteria.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that OC screws provide a useful option for occipitocervical fixation in a substantial proportion of patients with Chiari malformation. However, rigorous preoperative analysis would be essential to identify appropriate candidates for this technique and exclude those in whom it should not be attempted. Additional study is warranted.

Alternate JournalWorld Neurosurg
PubMed ID32204299