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Functional Outcome After Odontoid Fractures in the Elderly

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New Trends in Craniovertebral Junction Surgery


While several papers on mortality and the fusion rate in elderly patients treated surgically or non-surgically for odontoid fractures exist, little information is available on quality of life after treatment. The aim of treatment in these patients should not be fracture healing alone but also quality of life improvement.

A literature search using PubMed identified seven papers including information on functional evaluation of 402 patients.

Patients treated with anterior screw fixation had a good functional outcome in 92.6% of cases. This percentage seemed to decrease in octogenarians. Less information was available for patients treated with posterior approaches; it would seem that up to a half of such patients experienced pain and limitations in activities of daily living after surgery. Patients treated with a halo device had a functional outcome that was worse (or at least no better) than that of patients treated with surgery, with absence of limitations in activities of daily living in 77.3% of patients. Patients treated with a collar had a good functional outcome in the majority of cases, with absence of limitations in activities of daily living in 89% of patients.

More studies are needed for evaluation of functional outcome, especially in patients treated with a collar, a halo device or a posterior approach.

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Correspondence to Pasquale De Bonis .

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De Bonis, P. et al. (2019). Functional Outcome After Odontoid Fractures in the Elderly. In: Visocchi, M. (eds) New Trends in Craniovertebral Junction Surgery. Acta Neurochirurgica Supplement, vol 125. Springer, Cham.

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