Endoscopic endonasal approach to the craniocervical junction: the importance of anterior C1 arch preservation or its reconstruction.Acta Otorhinolaryngol Ital. 2016 Apr; 36(2):107-18.AO
We report our experience with the endoscopic endonasal approaches (EEA) for different craniocervical junction (CCJ) disorders to analyse outcomes and demonstrate the importance and feasibility of anterior C1 arch preservation or its reconstruction. Between January 2009 and December 2013, 10 patients underwent an endoscopic endonasal approach for different CCJ pathologies at our Institution. In 8 patients we were able to preserve the anterior C1 arch, while in 2 post-traumatic cases we reconstructed it. The CCJ disorders included 4 cases of irreducible anterior bulbo-medullary compression secondary to rheumatoid arthritis or CCJ anomalies, 4 cases of inveterate fractures of C1 and/or C2 and 2 tumours. Pre- and postoperative neuroradiological evaluation was always obtained by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomographic (CT) scanning and dynamic cranio-vertebral junction x-ray. Pre- and postoperative neurologic disability assessment was obtained by Ranawat classification for patients with rheumatoid arthritis and by Nurick classification for the others. At a mean follow-up of 31 months (range: 14-73 months), an improvement of at least one Ranawat or Nurick classification level was observed in 6 patients, while in another 4 patients neurological conditions were stable. Radiological follow-up revealed an adequate bulbo-medullary decompression in all patients and a regular bone fusion in cases of C1 and/or C2 fractures. In all patients spinal stability was preserved and none required subsequent posterior fixation. The endoscopic endonasal surgery provided adequate exposure and a low morbidity minimally invasive approach to the antero-medial located lesions of the CCJ, resulting in a safe, effective and well-tolerated procedure. This approach allowed preservation of the anterior C1 arch and the avoidance of a posterior fixation in all patients of this series, thus preserving the rotational movement at C0-C2 segment and reducing the risk of a subaxial instability development.