Management of fracture-dislocation of the lower cervical spine with the cervical pedicle screw system.
ABSTRACT Usually, cervical pedicle screw fixation has been considered too risky for neurovascular structures. The purpose of this study was to investigate the method and efficacy of the cervical pedicle screw system for fracture-dislocation of the cervical spine because of its rigid fixation.
A prospective study was conducted involving 48 patients with cervical spine fracture-dislocation who underwent cervical pedicle screw fixation surgery between January 2003 and January 2007. All patients had various degrees of cord injury, and they were classified according to the American Spinal Cord Injury Association (ASIA) Impairment Scale: 18 cases were grade A, 15 grade B, 10 grade C, and 5 grade D.
Six months after the operation, all patients had achieved solid bony fusion and stable fixation of the related segments. Thirty patients with incomplete spinal cord injury improved their ASIA Impairment Scale classification by 1 to 2 grades after the operation. Eighteen patients with complete spinal cord injury had no improvement in neural function. However, nerve root symptoms such as pain and numbness were alleviated to some extent.
The cervical pedicle screw system is an effective and reliable method for the restoration of cervical stability. Sufficient pre-operative imaging studies of the pedicles and strict screw insertion technique should be emphasised.