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Journal of Craniovertebral Junction and Spine
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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 166-172

Reliability of treating asymptomatic traumatic type II dens fractures in patients over age 80: A retrospective series


1 Department of Neurosurgery, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA
2 Department of Neurosurgery, Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences, Ranchi, Jharkhand, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Ibrahim Omeis
Baylor College of Medicine, 7200 Cambridge St, Ste 9A, Houston, TX 77030
USA
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0974-8237.167859

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Background: Management of type II odontoid fractures in elderly remains controversial to whether surgical treatment is favored over conservative one. This is a study of geriatric patients with asymptomatic type II dens fractures who after sustaining a fall were initially evaluated at community hospitals. They were placed in a rigid collar and were followed up in a spine clinic. Purpose: To assess the reliability of treating very old patients with type II dens fracture conservatively and whether surgical intervention if needed would affect the clinical outcome. Study Design: Retrospective study with the literature review. Patient Sample: Consecutive patients above 80 years of age, who sustained a clinically asymptomatic type II dens fracture and were observed after a conservative treatment plan, was initiated. Outcome Measures: Outcome measures included self-reported worsening neck pain, neurological function, and radiographic measures over the follow-up period. Materials and Methods: A retrospective clinical analysis of 5 active geriatric patients with type II asymptomatic dens fracture. After evaluating them, treatment options were discussed with patients and their family members. The decision was to continue to follow them with a rigid collar very closely since they were reluctant to undergo any surgical procedure. Results: Patients were followed for an average of 29 months. They were observed for any worsening neck pain, neurological deficit, or deterioration of fracture on follow-up imaging studies. At last follow-up, 2 of 5 patients continued to be asymptomatic, the 3 rd died of unrelated causes while 2 others required surgeries at least 1-year post injury. Conclusions: Treatment of type II dens fractures in the elderly is controversial. Independent elderly patients who are asymptomatic at presentation may be safe to be followed up very closely with a neck brace and serial X-ray. Converting to surgical treatment can be done safely when needed without affecting the overall clinical out.


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