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Instability of the cervical spine after decompression in patients who have Arnold-Chiari malformation
DD Aronson; RH Kahn; A Canady; RO Bollinger; R Towbin
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 1991 Jul 01;73(6):898-906
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Stability of the cervical spine was studied in two groups of children who had myelomeningocele. Group I consisted of twenty children who had an Arnold-Chiari Type-II malformation in whom a suboccipital craniectomy (partial occipital craniectomy through the suboccipital route) and cervical laminectomy was done to decompress the brain stem. The average duration of follow-up in this group (excluding one patient) was 4.7 years (range, 2.3 to 10.4 years) after the operation. Group II consisted of twenty children who had myelomeningocele but had not had an operation for decompression. Lateral radiographs of the cervical spine in flexion and extension showed no instability between the occiput and atlas or between the atlas and axis in either group. In contrast, translation between the second and third cervical vertebrae averaged four millimeters in Group I and one millimeter in Group II (p less than 0.01), and angulation between the third and fourth cervical vertebrae averaged 17 degrees in Group I and 6 degrees in Group II (p less than 0.01). Nineteen of the twenty patients in whom a suboccipital craniectomy and cervical laminectomy (Group I) had been done had instability of the cervical spine.

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