Article

Preoperative cervical traction with Gardner-Wells Tongs: who profits most?

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Abstract

Full-text access: https://rodemerk.com/publications/original-research/ptgwt/ Background: Preoperative traction with the Gardner-Wells tongs (PTGWT) is a valuable option for cervical spine injuries with malalignment. The aim of this study was to analyze the factors related to the treatment success of PTGWT. Methods: All consecutive cases with PTGWT due to cervical spine injury with malalignment treated between 01/2010 and 09/2020 were included. Patients' records were reviewed for demographic and clinical characteristics. Treatment success was evaluated upon the angle correction in the sagittal plane using the computed tomography scans before and after the treatment. Results: Of 20 patients in the final analysis (median age: 77.5 years; 12 females [60%]), 14 individuals were treated for the type-II odontoid fracture, and six cases presented with subluxation fractures between C3 and C7. After PTGWT and subsequent intraoperative reposition, there was an improvement of the median deviation angle from initial 32° to 5.5°. PTGWT resulted in a significant improvement of the median deviation angle for the odontoid (17°, p<0.0001), but not for the subluxation (4°, p=0.10) fractures. The time interval between trauma and PTGWT was associated with the treatment success of subluxation (p=0.051) but not of odontoid (p=0.87) fractures. Older individuals aged 51≥ years showed better reposition results with PTGWT (17° vs. 7.5°, p=0.02). There were no PTGWT-related complications in the cohort. Conclusions: PTGWT is an effective and safe treatment for cervical spine injuries with malalignment. The patients with odontoid fractures might particularly profit from the PTGWT. Treatment delay seems more relevant for PTGWT success in subluxation than in odontoid fractures.

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