Skeletal Radiology

, Volume 35, Issue 9, pp 679–683 | Cite as

CT analysis of the axis for transarticular screw fixation of rheumatoid atlantoaxial instability

  • Sung Soo Chung
  • Chong Suh Lee
  • Hye Won Chung
  • Chang Seok KangEmail author
Scientific Article



To investigate the morphological characteristics of the axis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients with atlantoaxial instability and to determine, by means of sagittal reconstructed computed tomography (CT), the suitability for atlantoaxial transarticular screw fixation.

Design and patients

Twenty-seven patients, who had undergone reconstructed cervical spine CT scanning preoperatively and posterior atlantoaxial arthrodesis for atlantoaxial instability, were identified from a database for inclusion in this study. The isthmus height and internal height of the lateral mass of the axis were measured using digital imaging software.


The mean isthmus height and internal height of the lateral mass of the axis in RA patients (n=14) were significantly lower than in non-RA patients (n=13) (P<0.01). A high-riding vertebral artery (VA) was present in 54% (15 joints, 9 patients) of the 28 atlantoaxial joints in the RA group and in 12% (3 joints, 2 patients) of the 26 atlantoaxial joints in the non-RA group (P<0.01).


In RA patients, the axis showed more extensive thinning of the isthmus and lateral mass than in non-RA patients. A precise preoperative evaluation of screw trajectory using reconstruction CT imaging may be useful in atlantoaxial transarticular fixation, particularly for RA patients with atlantoaxial instability.


Cervical spine Axis Cervical CT Rheumatoid arthritis Atlantoaxial instability 


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Copyright information

© ISS 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sung Soo Chung
    • 1
  • Chong Suh Lee
    • 1
  • Hye Won Chung
    • 2
  • Chang Seok Kang
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Samsung Medical CenterSungkyunkwan University School of MedicineSeoulSouth Korea
  2. 2.Department of Radiology, Samsung Medical CenterSungkyunkwan University School of MedicineSeoulSouth Korea

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