European Spine Journal

, Volume 25, Issue 7, pp 2210–2217 | Cite as

Anterior transarticular atlantoaxial screw fixation in combination with dens screw fixation for type II odontoid fractures with associated atlanto-odontoid osteoarthritis

  • Christoph Josten
  • Jan-Sven Jarvers
  • Stefan Glasmacher
  • Christoph-Eckhard Heyde
  • Ulrich J. Spiegl
Original Article



The purpose of this study was to evaluate the 1-year outcome after anterior transarticular atlantoaxial fixation and odontoid fusion (TAFOF) for type II odontoid fractures and atlanto-odontoid osteoarthritis (AO) in elderly patients.


All geriatric patients, age 70 or older, with acute traumatic type II odontoid fractures and moderate or severe AO treated by TAFOF were included. The study was performed at a single institution between June 2008 and August 2013. Patients were evaluated clinically and radiologically after 1 year. Main parameter of interest were in-hospital and 1-year mortality rates, complication rates (re-operations, prolonged hospital stay, blood transfusion; non-union), and the patients’ pain (0: no pain; 10: maximal pain) and satisfaction level (0: lowest satisfaction; 10: highest satisfaction) after 1 year.


A total of 83 patients were included with an average age of 84.7 years (range 70–101 years). 39 patients were subdivided as “old” with an age 70–84 years and 44 patients were defined as “very old” with an age of 85 or higher. The average operation time was 64.7 min. Three patients died during the inpatient stay (3.6 %). Twenty patients (24.1 %) were lost contact follow-up. The 1-year mortality was 25.4 % with a significantly higher mortality rate in very old patient group (p = 0.01). At the 1-year follow-up, the mean pain level was 3.3 and the mean patient satisfaction level was 6.5. Osseous consolidation of the dens was visible in 90.2 % of patients. Revision surgery was performed in three patients (3.6 %). Generally, a significantly higher complication rate was seen after single-screw fixation of the dens compared to a double-screw fixation in combination with TAF (p = 0.042).


Anterior TAFOF leads to promising 1-year results with low in-hospital mortality and a high fusion rate in geriatric patients with type II odontoid fractures and relevant AO. Double-screw dens fixation seems to reduce the complication rate.


Type II odontoid fracture Atlanto-odontoid osteoarthritis Ventral approach Transarticular atlantoaxial fixation Geriatric patient population 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

One of the authors (JC) received royalty from the following companies: Zimmer, inc., Warshaw, IN, USA; DepuySynthes, inc., West Chester, PA, USA; Medtronic, Minneapolis, MN, USA; Ziehm, inc., Nürnberg, Germany. In addition, the author CEH is an independent consultant for Medacta, inc., Castel San Pietro, Switzerland.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christoph Josten
    • 1
  • Jan-Sven Jarvers
    • 1
  • Stefan Glasmacher
    • 1
  • Christoph-Eckhard Heyde
    • 1
  • Ulrich J. Spiegl
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Orthopaedics, Trauma and Plastic Surgery, Spine CenterUniversity of LeipzigLeipzigGermany

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