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Spontaneous C1 anterior arch fracture as a postoperative complication of foramen magnum decompression for Chiari malformation type 1.

Spontaneous C1 anterior arch fracture as a postoperative complication of foramen magnum decompression for Chiari malformation type 1.

Surg Neurol Int. 2011;2:138

Authors: Hirano Y, Sugawara A, Mizuno J, Takeda M, Watanabe K, Ogasawara K

Abstract
BACKGROUND: C1 fracture accounts for 2% of all spinal column injuries and 10% of cervical spine fractures, and is most frequently caused by motor vehicle accidents and falls. We present a rare case of C1 anterior arch fracture following standard foramen magnum decompression for Chiari malformation type 1.
CASE DESCRIPTION: A 63-year-old man underwent standard foramen magnum decompression (suboccipital craniectomy and C1 laminectomy) under a diagnosis of Chiari malformation type 1 with syringomyelia in June 2009. The postoperative course was uneventful until the patient noticed progressive posterior cervical pain 5 months after the operation. Computed tomography of the upper cervical spine obtained 7 months after the operation revealed left C1 anterior arch fracture. The patient was referred to our hospital at the end of January 2010 and C1-C2 posterior fusion with C1 lateral mass screws and C2 laminar screws was carried out in March 2010. Complete pain relief was achieved immediately after the second operation, and the patient resumed his daily activities.
CONCLUSION: Anterior atlas fracture following foramen magnum decompression for Chiari malformation type 1 is very rare, but C1 laminectomy carries the risk of anterior arch fracture. Neurosurgeons should recognize that fracture of the atlas, which commonly results from an axial loading force, can occur in the postoperative period in patients with Chiari malformation.

PMID: 22059133 [PubMed]

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