To report the technical nuances and clinical outcomes of posterior atlantoaxial facet joint reduction, fixation and fusion (AFRF) technique as a revision procedure for BI and AAD patients with failed suboccipital decompression and large occipital bone defect.
We reviewed 32 patients with BI and AAD who were misdiagnosed as a simple Chiari malformation and received a suboccipital decompression surgery before admission. All patients underwent AFRF as a revision surgery. The separating, fusing, opacifying and false-coloring-volume rendering (SFOF-VR) technique was used to identify the course of the VA. Clinical and radiological outcomes were assessed after revision surgeries.
Clinical symptoms improved in all patients. The postoperative atlantodens interval, Wackenheim line and clivus-canal angle significantly improved (all P < 0.01). Intraoperative dural tear and cerebrospinal fluid leakage occurred in 3 patients and were managed by suture repair and lumbar drain. Abnormal VA was identified in 7 patients and no VA injury occurred with the aid of SFOF-VR technique. The average follow-up was 19.1 months and atlantoaxial bone fusion was confirmed in 31 patients.
For BI and AAD patients with failed suboccipital decompression, revision surgery is challenging. Occipitocervical fixation and posterior midline bone grafting are rather difficult due to the large occipital bone defect. The current study demonstrated that the posterior AFRF is a simple, safe and highly effective technique in revision surgery for such cases. For VA variations, the SFOF-VR technique is an effective tool to delineate the course VA.

Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier B.V.