Occipito-cervical fusion in rheumatoid arthritis.


Between 1977 and 1988 twenty-five patients with rheumatoid arthritis involving the cervical spine were treated by an occipito-cervical fusion. Twenty-two patients are included in this study. The main indications for surgery were intractable pain and progressive neural impairment. The operative procedure consisted of an H-bone graft fixed with steel wire in 19 cases, fusion of occiput-C2 six times and of occiput-C3 thirteen times. A Hartshill-Ransford (5, 12) loop was used in three cases: occiput-C3 twice and occiput-C7 once. The mean duration of follow-up was 3 years 8 months in 17 patients. Improvement of symptoms and signs was achieved in 88%. There were 2 post-operative deaths. The high rate of pseudarthrosis in our series was confirmed by several authors. The loop technique provides a more stable fixation and will be our technique of choice in the future.


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@article{Berghe1981OccipitocervicalFI, title={Occipito-cervical fusion in rheumatoid arthritis.}, author={Alex Vanden Berghe and Charlotte Ackerman and E M Veys and Priscilla Verjans and Dirk Uyttendaele and H E Claessens}, journal={Acta orthopaedica Belgica}, year={1981}, volume={47 4-5}, pages={685-98} }