Experience with the expanded endonasal approach for resection of the odontoid process in rheumatoid disease 52nd Annual Meeting of the American-Rhinologic-Society Nayak, J. V., Gardner, P. A., Vescan, A. D., Carrau, R. L., Kassam, A. B., Snyderman, C. H. OCEAN SIDE PUBLICATIONS INC. 2007: 601–6


One of the common indications for removal of the odontoid process includes decompression of the cervicomedullary junction in patients with arthritic degeneration. Resection of the odontoid process can be accomplished using a completely transnasal endoscopic approach.A retrospective review was performed of patients with rheumatoid pannus undergoing transnasal endoscopic resection of the odontoid to assess preoperative characteristics, postoperative complications, and outcomes. Patients were followed for a minimum of 3 months in the postoperative period and/or until death. In addition to the primary procedure, those patients with preoperative cervical instability underwent posterior fusion of the upper cervical spine to the occiput for stabilization during the same hospitalization.Nine patients underwent transnasal endoscopic resection of the odontoid process for rheumatoid or degenerative pannus and brainstem compression. Perioperatively, four patients required a tracheostomy; two of whom had significant preoperative pharyngeal dysfunction. Two patients experienced postoperative velopharyngeal incompetence, which was transient. No patients had cerebrospinal fluid leaks, and there were no perioperative infectious complications noted. There was one delayed death in this patient cohort because of a presumed pulmonary embolus. Otherwise, all patients showed an improvement of their preoperative neurological symptoms.This early series of patients with rheumatoid pannus shows the feasibility of a fully endoscopic, completely transnasal approach for the resection of the odontoid process. Potential advantages include improved visualization, limited morbidity, decreased pain, and faster recovery than traditional approaches.

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