Initial Experience with Extreme Angle Cervical Screw for Treatment of Trauma and Cervical Spondylosis
Ankit I. Mehta MD, Instructor of Neurological Surgery, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Baltimore, MD, Ranjith Babu MS, Medical Student, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, Carlos A. Bagley MD, Associate Professor of Surgery, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, Peter M. Grossi MD, Assistant Professor of Surgery, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, Oren N. Gottfried M.D., Assistant Professor of Surgery, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC
In this study, we have described our initial experience and surgical technique of extreme angle screw placement in the cervical and upper thoracic spine of a cohort of patients undergoing posterior fusion. This extreme angle screw facilitates rod placement without need for any coronal contouring of the rod or offset connectors despite the varied entry site locations for posterior instrumentation and the different trajectories and pathways of these screws. From February 2011 to July 2011, extreme angle screws were placed in twenty consecutive adult patients who underwent posterior cervical, occipital-cervical or cervical-thoracic fusions. The primary diagnosis was cervical spondylotic myelopathy (13), trauma (4), and pseudoarthrosis with stenosis (3). Eight patients had gross instability. A total of 196 screws were placed; half of the cases involved instrumentation at or within the C3–7 segments (10) and the others included constructs extending to occipital bone, C2, T1, or T2 (10). Of all twenty cases, there were no perioperative hardware complications. At long-term follow-up, two patients required reoperation, one for hardware failure and the other for single level symptomatic pseudoarthrosis. We conclude that extreme angle screw use in the posterior cervical spine provides an evolution in posterior instrumentation that maximizes the biomechanical strength of a construct, allows for easy rod placement, and may improve the restoration of sagittal alignment. Overall, extreme angle screws facilitate rod placement even for screws offset from the natural plane of the rod, thereby avoiding the need for coronal contouring or placement of offset connectors.