Minim Invasive Neurosurg 1999; 42(3): 142-145
DOI: 10.1055/s-2008-1053387
© Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York

A Novel Endoscopic Approach to Anterior Odontoid Screw Fixation: Technical Note

M. A. Horgan, F. P. K. Hsu, E. H. Frank
  • Department of Neurosurgery, Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland, Oregon
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Publication History

Publication Date:
18 March 2008 (online)


Techniques for operative management for type II odontoid fractures have continuously been refined with anterior odontoid screw arthrodesis having a clear advantage in maintaining normal motion. We have refined the technique of odontoid screw fixation further with the introduction of an endoscopic approach developed by the senior author. The necks of two partially embalmed cadavers were slightly extended under fluoroscopic guidance to simulate a reduced, anteriorly displaced type II fracture. Using a guide wire, graduated plastic sheath and endoscopic guidance, a solid 45 mm bone screw was passed through the odontoid with the aid of biplanar fluoroscopy. There were no apparent complications and no damage to surrounding vital structures. Anterior screw fixation of the odontoid is an established technique that provides adequate fixation, but the procedure can be technically demanding secondary to awkward tissue retraction. We present a percutaneous technique that obviates the need for tissue retraction while achieving an excellent result with only a modicum of effort.