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Journal of Craniovertebral Junction and Spine
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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 146-153

Posterior midline approach to odontoidectomy: A novel method to treat basilar invagination

Department of Neurosurgery, Ankara University School of Medicine, Ibn-i Sina Hospital, Ankara, Turkey

Correspondence Address:
Koral Erdogan
Department of Neurosurgery, Ankara University, Ibni Sina Hastanesi, Hacettepe, Talatpaşa Blv No: 82, 06230 Altindag, Ankara
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jcvjs.jcvjs_12_22

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Background: Basilar invagination (BI) is a common malformation of the craniocervical region where the odontoid process protrudes into the foramen magnum. Surgery in this region is difficult because of the complex anatomy of the craniocervical junction. Serious life-threatening complications have been observed with previously described approaches. Therefore, we conceived a novel surgical approach that can be implemented by neurosurgeons with different skill levels to facilitate better outcomes. Methods: We describe a new surgical technique for the treatment of BI that we used in two patients in whom cervical myelopathy and direct ventral compression of the cervicomedullary junction were confirmed through clinical and radiological findings. We present the technique of posterior odontoidectomy in a step-by-step, didactic, and practical manner with surgical tips and tricks. Results: The resection was completed without intraoperative or postoperative complications in both cases. The patients experienced substantial neurological improvements, and full recovery was observed during the 9-month and 12-month follow-up visits after discharge. Compared with the transoral approach, our technique provides a larger decompression area. Conclusions: We describe a novel method for the treatment of BI that was applied in two patients and suggest that the posterior approach might be a safe and effective method for ventral decompression of the craniocervical junction. Posterior odontoidectomy followed by craniocervical fixation helped achieve complete cervicomedullary decompression.

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