<%server.execute "isdev.asp"%> Transoral odontoidectomy for pediatric craniovertebral junction anomaly: Is it redundant now? Singh S, Srivastava AK, Sardhara J, Behari S - J Pediatr Neurosci
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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 87-90

Transoral odontoidectomy for pediatric craniovertebral junction anomaly: Is it redundant now?

Department of Neurosurgery, Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India

Date of Submission23-Feb-2020
Date of Decision30-May-2020
Date of Acceptance22-Aug-2020
Date of Web Publication12-Jul-2021

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Arun Kumar Srivastava
Department of Neurosurgery, Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow 226014, Uttar Pradesh.
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jpn.JPN_36_20

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How to cite this article:
Singh S, Srivastava AK, Sardhara J, Behari S. Transoral odontoidectomy for pediatric craniovertebral junction anomaly: Is it redundant now?. J Pediatr Neurosci 2021;16:87-90

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Singh S, Srivastava AK, Sardhara J, Behari S. Transoral odontoidectomy for pediatric craniovertebral junction anomaly: Is it redundant now?. J Pediatr Neurosci [serial online] 2021 [cited 2023 Dec 3];16:87-90. Available from: https://www.pediatricneurosciences.com/text.asp?2021/16/2/87/321149

The novel conceptualization of C1–C2 joint distraction by Goel[1],[2] revolutionized the surgical management of craniovertebral junction anomaly (CVJA). It would be not be untrue, if I say that the future generation of neurosurgery residents will not even assist a single case of transoral odontoidectomy (TOD) in their curriculum. Will the art of Odontoid drilling sojourn only in operative  Atlas More Detailses or endure in the hands of few neurosurgeons? We did a literature search with word “TOD” in PubMed and Scopus search engines, and found that majority of reported cases were operated as a rescue effort after posterior fixation and clinical deterioration. In one of our previous article, 28 patients (of 154) required second-stage TOD following posterior distraction-and-fusion due to neurological non-improvement.[3] Therefore, I believe that the “kairotic moment” has come, for the neurosurgeons to unite, and revisit the radiological indications of TOD in present era.

Although the TOD procedure was first described by Kanavel,[4] for the indication of an entrapped bullet removal between skull base and C1, it was Scoville and Sherman[5] who successively described the technique for basilar impression (BI). Thereafter, Fang and Ong[6] popularized the approach for traumatic Cl–C2 instability and tuberculosis of the upper cervical spine. As the “change” is inevitable, so is the evolution of CVJ surgery being a dynamic process. The modern indications of TOD in pediatric neurosurgery subspecialty includes (a) as a rescue procedure after posterior fixation - Herein, the word “over-distraction” and “hyper-mobile AAD” needs to be mentioned and understand.[7] Wang et al.[8] reported four cases of vertical atlantoaxial dislocation (AAD) and BI with postoperative neurological deficit after undergoing anatomic reduction. He proposed that the posterior fixation done in the over-distracted position, to treat vertical AAD, may displace the brainstem caudally, leading to traction injury to the lower cranial nerves. Actually the suitable distance of distraction for achieving adequate decompression still remains unknown.[9] Therefore, the patients who deteriorate post-posterior fixation, warrants either re-exploration and re-fixation in partially distracted state; or TOD.[10]

(b) A second indication may be the patients with anomalous vertebral artery course, either over the C1–C2 joints or high riding V1–V2 loop with a thin pars inter-articularis. Although these cases are a real challenge for an experienced neurosurgeon, I would rather say captivating or enrapturing, it is always safe to do occipitocervical fixation along with TOD in the same sitting. At the end of surgery, the only thing matters is your patient, and it is esteem pleasure to see child being discharge from hospital happily. To my young fellows, I always insist that “a new surgical technique” or “devise” may look mesmerizing, but not to follow these arbitrarily. (c) Bony tumors of odontoid such as osteoblastoma, chordoma, and aneurysmal bone cyst are although rare, but may occur in pediatric age and warrant a ventral corridor. (d) Abnormal deposition anterior to odontoid as in the Morquio’s syndrome still remains as an important indication of TOD. The posterior distraction or reduction can never address the mucopolysaccharide deposited ventral to the odontoid process. (e) Anterior ligamentous hypertrophy or inflammatory pannus (in the context of rheumatoid arthritis). The incidence of pannus formation is decreasing due to better disease control with biologic medication. Some authors believe that proper distraction may buy time for the pannus to resolve. Moreover, this arthritis is rare below 18 years of age. Still, few cases have been reported, where pannus was the only cause of irreducibility and needs utmost surgical addressal.[11],[12][Figure 1][Figure 2][Figure 3] show several representative patients operated through TOD and had a remarkable improvement in follow-up.
Figure 1: A 9-year-old child presented to us with progressive spastic quadriparesis (Nurick grade IV) and the CT (A) sagittal image showed AAD with basilar invagination. There was severe canal compromise at foramen magnum and posterior arch of atlas was occipitalized. We did transoral odontoidectomy followed by posterior fixation (O-C1-C2). The postoperative (B) axial and (C) sagittal CT-scan shows ventral decompression and adequate funneling of craniovertebral junction. The child improved in postoperative period and after a follow-up of 3-years, the patient is able to walk without support

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Figure 2: An 11-year-old child presented with acute spastic quadriparesis (Nurick grade III) after a trivial trauma. Radiology showed evidence of atlantoaxial dislocation (A). The patient was operated from posterior approach and occipital-atlas (lateral mass) and axis (pars inter-articularis) fixation was done (C) but the child deteriorated in immediate postoperative period and his ventilator requirement kept on persisting. On the third postoperative day, we did transoral odontoidectomy (B) and patient improved thereafter (D). The child was discharged on the 14th postoperative day and is able to so all his routine activities after 2 years of follow-up

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Figure 3: A case of anterior compressive myelopathy due to thick hypertrophied tectorial membrane. (A) Magnetic resonance imaging sagittal T2-weighted sequence of a child operated through posterior fixation and deteriorated (Nurick grade IV, on ventilator). C1–C2 joints were manipulated, reoriented and instrumentation was done. (B, C) After 24 h of the first surgery, excision of hypertrophied tectorial membrane was done and patient improved significantly

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   Need for Palate Incision as an Extension to Pharyngeal Wall Exposure Top

Menezes believe that soft palate incision is only required in the cases, wherein exposure of the clivus is needed.[9] This includes the case of severe BI with proximal migration of the odontoid. Other reported indication includes the rare cases of rheumatoid arthritis with mandibular joint involvement, where mouth opening becomes a limiting factor. Some surgeons believe that TOD in a patient, wherein, posterior fixation is already done in the extended neck position, is technically difficult.[10] However, we never felt need of palatal incision or used endoscopic assistance in our experience of more than twenty years.

   Factors Complicating the Technique of Transoral Odontoidectomy Top

  1. Infection: It is a popular belief that the contaminated oral or nasal cavity gets communicated with retropharyngeal space and may infect the implant or predispose osteomyelitis. None of the patients, neither from series of Sonntag (n = 29, 10 years), Crockard (n = 22), and Elbadrawi (n = 20, 5 years), and nor in our experience (except two cases where wound dehiscence occurred had such infection.[13],[14],[15]
  2. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak and meningitis: The CSF leak occurs as a result of technical failure or superadded infection. The problem denotes a significant risk to the patient and need utmost addressal. Various treatment options include dural patching, re-repair, and placement of a lumbar drain.
  3. Dysphagia and velopharyngeal insufficiency: The mal-closure of the velopharyngeal sphincter during speaking or swallowing may lead to hypernasal voice and nasal regurgitation. The pathogenesis proposed is postoperative fibrosis of the soft palate or pharyngeal wall.

The art of TOD should not remain in books or atlas. Majority of patients with craniovertebral anomaly can be dealt with posterior approach, but still, TOD is necessary in a subset of patients. One should not be obsessed with a particular surgical approach, and rather think about his surgical experience or expertise and patient-related outcome.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

   References Top

Goel A. Atlantoaxial facetal distraction spacers: indications and techniques. J Craniovertebr Junction Spine 2016;7:127-8.  Back to cited text no. 1
Goel A. Goel’s classification of atlantoaxial “facetal” dislocation. J Craniovertebr Junction Spine 2014;5:3-8.  Back to cited text no. 2
Sardhara J, Behari S, Sindgikar P, Srivastava AK, Mehrotra A, Das KK, et al. Evaluating atlantoaxial dislocation based on cartesian coordinates: proposing a new definition and its impact on assessment of congenital torticollis. Neurosurgery 2018;82:525-40.  Back to cited text no. 3
Kanavel AB. Bullet locked between atlas and the base of the skull: technique for removal through the mouth. Surg Clin 1919;1:361-6.  Back to cited text no. 4
Scoville WB, Sherman IJ. Platybasia, report of 10 cases with comments on familial tendency, a special diagnostic sign, and the end results of operation. Ann Surg 1951;133:496-502.  Back to cited text no. 5
Fang HSY, Ong GB. Direct anterior approach to the upper cervical spine. J Bone Joint Surg Am 1962;44-A:1588-604.  Back to cited text no. 6
Elbadrawi AM, Elkhateeb TM. Transoral approach for odontoidectomy efficacy and safety. Hss J 2017;13:276-81.  Back to cited text no. 7
Wang Q, Wu X, Tan M, Wang G, Xu S, Qi Y. Is anatomic reduction better than partial reduction in patients with vertical atlantoaxial dislocation? World Neurosurg 2018;114:e301-5.  Back to cited text no. 8
Menezes AH. Transoral approaches to the clivus and upper cervical spine. In: Menezes AH, Sonntag VKH, editors. Principles of spinal surgery. New York: McGraw-Hill; 1996.  Back to cited text no. 9
Chauhan RB, Satapathy A, Mohindra S, Tripathi M, Batish A, Dave S. Letter to the editor. Transoral odontoidectomy: a time-honored rescue procedure. J Neurosurg Spine 2018;29: 608-10.  Back to cited text no. 10
Jain VK, Behari S, Banerji D, Bhargava V, Chhabra DK. Transoral decompression for craniovertebral osseous anomalies: perioperative management dilemmas. Neurol India 1999;47:188-95.  Back to cited text no. 11
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Landeiro JA, Boechat S, Christoph Dde H, Gonçalves MB, Castro ID, Lapenta MA, et al. Transoral approach to the craniovertebral junction. Arq Neuropsiquiatr 2007;65:1166-71.  Back to cited text no. 12
Hadley MN, Spetzler RF, Sonntag VK. The transoral approach to the superior cervical spine. A review of 53 cases of extradural cervicomedullary compression. J Neurosurg 1989;71:16-23.  Back to cited text no. 13
Crockard HA, Essigman WK, Stevens JM, Pozo JL, Ransford AO, Kendall BE. Surgical treatment of cervical cord compression in rheumatoid arthritis. Ann Rheum Dis 1985;44:809-16.  Back to cited text no. 14
Shriver MF, Kshettry VR, Sindwani R, Woodard T, Benzel EC, Recinos PF. Transoral and transnasal odontoidectomy complications: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Clin Neurol Neurosurg 2016;148:121-9.  Back to cited text no. 15


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