Chiari malformation type I (CM-I) is typically treated with foramen magnum decompression. However, a recent study proposed a new technique for patients with CM-I, wherein only short atlantoaxial joint fusion and distraction is applied. Posterior fusion with or without atlantoaxial distraction is a potential option for patients with CM-I associated with basilar invagination or complex anomalous bony craniovertebral junction pathology, since this procedure allows clinicians to avoid using the technically demanding transoral approach in which some or all of the odontoid tip is invisible. Distraction of the atlantoaxial joint reduces ventral cervicomedullary compression, leading to neurological improvement. Here, the authors report the case of a 50-year-old woman with CM-I plus basilar invagination whose condition immediately improved but then gradually deteriorated following atlantoaxial joint distraction and fusion. Therefore, the authors performed endonasal/transoral odontoidectomy, which resulted in prolonged neurological recovery. Short atlantoaxial fusion with distraction is a smart and ideal surgical planning concept that can result in significant neurological improvement. However, this case suggests that anterior odontoidectomy is still an essential element of the intervention strategy for patients with CM-I with complex craniovertebral junction pathology.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Neurology