Evidence-based analysis of odontoid fracture management

Terrence D. Julien, Bruce Frankel, Vincent C. Traynelis, Timothy C. Ryken
2000 Neurosurgical Focus  
Object. The management of odontoid fractures remains controversial. Evidence-based methodology was used to review the published data on odontoid fracture management to determine the state of the current practices reported in the literature. Methods. The Medline literature was searched using the keywords "odontoid," "odontoid fracture," and "cervical fracture" and graded using a four-tiered system. Those articles meeting selection criteria were divided in an attempt to formulate practice
more » ... te practice guidelines and standards or options for each fracture type. Evidentiary tables were constructed by treatment type. Ninety-five articles were reviewed. Five articles for Type I, 16 for Type II, and 14 for Type III odontoid fractures met selection criteria. All studies reviewed contained Class III data (American Medical Association data classification). Conclusions. There is insufficient evidence to establish a standard or guideline for odontoid fracture management. Given the extent of Class III evidence and outcomes reported on Type I and Type III fractures, a well-designed casecontrolled study would appear to provide sufficient evidence to establish a practice guideline, suggesting that cervical immobilization for 6 to 8 weeks is appropriate management. In cases of Type II fracture, analysis of the Class III evidence suggests that both operative and nonoperative management remain treatment options. A randomized trial or serial case-controlled studies will be required to establish either a guideline or treatment standard for this fracture type. KEY WORDS • odontoid • odontoid fracture • cervical spine Neurosurg. Focus / Volume 8 / June, 2000 * AP = anteroposterior; CT = computerized tomography; flex/ext = flexion/extension; FU = follow up; fx = fracture(s); OP = odontoid process; SOMI = suboccipital mandibular immobilizer.
doi:10.3171/foc.2000.8.6.2 pmid:16859271 fatcat:juy36bfiefeetozn5u3zuzz4cm