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Title: Radiologic and clinical spectrum of occipital condyle fractures: Retrospective review of 107 consecutive fractures in 95 patients
Authors: Hanson, Julian ;Deliganis, A. V.;Baxter, A. B.;Cohen, W. A.;Linnau, K. F.;Wilson, A. J.;Mann, F. A.
Issue Date: May-2002
Source: Volume 178, Issue 5, pp. 1261-1268
Journal title: American Journal of Roentgenology
Abstract: OBJECTIVE: We proposed to characterize the radiologic spectrum of occipital condyle fractures in a large series of patients and to correlate fracture pathology with neurosurgical treatment and patient outcome. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We conducted a retrospective review of the findings on conventional radiography, CT, and MR imaging in 95 patients with 107 occipital condyle fractures. We described fracture patterns according to two previously published classification systems. Clinical findings, neurosurgical management, and patient outcome were obtained from the medical records. RESULTS: Inferomedial avulsions (Anderson and Montesano type III) were the most common type of occipital condyle fracture, constituting 80 (75%) of 107 overall fractures. Unilateral occipital condyle fractures were found in 73 (77%) of 95 patients, and 58 patients were treated nonoperatively; occipitocervical fusion was required in nine patients for complex C1-C2 injuries, and six patients died. Bilateral occipital condyle fractures or occipitoatlantoaxial joint injuries were seen in 22 (23%) of 95 patients. Occipitocervical fusion or halo traction for the craniocervical junction was required in 12 patients, all of whom had CT evidence of bilateral occipitoatlantoaxial joint disruption and six of whom showed normal craniocervical relationships on conventional radiographs. Six patients with nondisplaced fractures were treated nonoperatively, and four patients died. Thirty (32%) of 95 patients showed continued disability, whereas 55 (57.5%) of 95 patients had good outcomes at 1 month. Associated cervical spine injuries were present in 29 (31%) of 95 patients. CONCLUSION: Given their associated traumatic brain and cervical spine injuries, occipital condyle fractures are markers of high-energy traumas. That conventional radiographs alone may miss up to half of the patients with acute craniocervical instability has not been well established. Avulsion fracture type and fracture displacement are associated with both injury mechanism and the need for surgical stabilization. In this series, most unilateral occipital condyle fractures were treated nonoperatively, whereas bilateral occipitoatlantoaxial joint injuries with findings of instability usually required surgical stabilization.
DOI: 10.2214/ajr.178.5.1781261
ISSN: 0361-803X (Print) 0361-803x
Publicaton type: Journal Article
Keywords: Orthopaedics
Diagnostic Imaging
Appears in Collections:Radiology

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