Cervical myelopathy caused by atlantoaxial instability in a patient with an os odontoideum and total aplasia of the posterior arch of the atlas: a case report
1 Spine Center, Ehime University Hospital, Tohon-city, Ehime, 791-0295, Japan
2 Department of Bone and Joint Surgery, Ehime University Graduate School of Medicine, Tohon-city, Ehime, 791-0295, Japan
Journal of Medical Case Reports 2012, 6:171 doi:10.1186/1752-1947-6-171Published: 28 June 2012
Congenital hypoplasia of the atlas has rarely been reported. Myelopathy caused by the complete absence of the posterior arch of the atlas has not been reported. This case report describes the diagnosis and successful treatment of a myelopathy due to the complete absence of the posterior arch of the atlas.
A 59-year-old Japanese man experienced pain in his nuchal region with progressive spasticity, numbness and hypesthesia in his upper and lower limbs. Deep tendon reflexes in his upper and lower limbs were increased. The complete absence of the posterior arch of the atlas and atlantoaxial instability were found in a roentgenogram. Magnetic resonance imaging detected high signal intensity on T2-weighted images in his spinal cord at the level of cervical vertebrae 1 to 2. Our patient underwent posterior occipito-C4 fixation with pedicle screws. After the operation, the pain in his nuchal region disappeared and his symptoms of myelopathy improved. Only slight numbness of his upper limbs remained.
This is the first report of myelopathy due to the complete absence of the posterior arch of the atlas.