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Authors of section


Ronald Lehman, Daniel Riew, Klaus Schnake

General Editor

Luiz Vialle

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Posterior fixation

1. Introduction

Posterior instrumentation is either combined with open reduction, or is performed after closed reduction has been successfully achieved.

2. Approach and positioning

This procedure is performed through a posterior approach with the patient placed in the prone position.

posterior fixation

3. Open reduction

In type III fractures, close reduction is typically not possible and is performed open from posterior.

posterior fixation

A bilateral facet dislocation can be unlocked with gentle manual distraction applied across clamps placed on the spinous processes above and below the injury.

In specific situations, this can be facilitated by prying the facets apart directly with an elevator or partial resection of the superior facet as described above for unilateral facet dislocations

Once reduction has been achieved, posterior instrumentation should be applied.

posterior fixation

Partial facetectomy in the form of resection of the superior-most projection of the superior facet of the level below the dislocation may facilitate facet reduction.

posterior fixation

4. C2-C3 posterior fusion

C2 Screws

Polyaxial pedicle screws are inserted into C2 following the standard technique.

c2 pedicle screw insertion

C3 Screws

For fixation of C3, one of the following techniques can be applied:

posterior fixation

Rod insertion

The rod is placed and screws are closed with slight compression to enhance the stability of the construct.

posterior fixation

5. Aftercare

Patients are made to sit up in the bed on the evening following the operation.

A collar is commonly used following surgical stabilization to moderate patient activity.

The purpose of a collar is to prevent ranges of motion outside of limits deemed unfavorable for fracture healing. Collar is optional.

Patients with intact neurological status are made to stand and walk on the first day after surgery. Patients can be discharged when medically stable or sent to a rehabilitation center if further care is necessary. This depends on the comfort levels and presence of other associated injuries.

Patients are generally followed with periodical x-rays at 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, and 1 year.