Recurrence of cervical spine instability in rheumatoid arthritis following previous fusion: Can disease progression be prevented by early surgery?

A. K. Agarwal, W. C. Peppelman, D. R. Kraus, Bradley H Pollock, B. L. Stolzer, C. H. Eisenbeis, W. F. Donaldson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

64 Scopus citations

Abstract

In a retrospective study, 110 patients with rheumatoid arthritis who had cervical spine fusion were evaluated for recurrence of cervical spine instability and resultant need for further surgery. Recurrence of cervical instability was correlated with initial radiographic abnormality, primary surgical procedure and interval between the 2 surgeries. There were 55 patients who had atlantoaxial subluxation (AAS) and required C1-C2 fusion as primary surgery. Three of these patients (5.5%) developed subaxial subluxation (SAS) and had a second procedure after a mean interval of 9 years. Twenty-two patients had AAS with superior migration of the odontoid (AAS-SMO) and had initial surgery of occiput-C3 fusion. Eight of these patients (36%) developed SAS and had a second surgery after a mean interval of 2.6 years. Of the 19 patients with primary radiographic deformity of SAS, one required further surgery for subluxation of an adjacent superior vertebra after a period of 6 years. Fourteen patients had combined deformity of AAS-SMO-SAS, and one required further surgery for SAS after an interval of 22 months. Recurrence of cervical instability following a previous fusion occurred in 15% of these 110 patients. It was seen in 5.5% of patients with initial deformity of AAS vs 36% of patients with AAS-SMO. No patients with C1-C2 fusion for AAS progressed to develop superior migration of the odontoid. We conclude that early C1-C2 fusion for AAS before development of SMO decreases the risk of further progression of cervical spine instability. The pattern of progression of cervical spine involvement, as discussed in the literature, is reviewed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1364-1370
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Rheumatology
Volume19
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • cervical spine surgery
  • progression of cervical spine instability
  • rheumatoid arthritis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Rheumatology

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    Agarwal, A. K., Peppelman, W. C., Kraus, D. R., Pollock, B. H., Stolzer, B. L., Eisenbeis, C. H., & Donaldson, W. F. (1992). Recurrence of cervical spine instability in rheumatoid arthritis following previous fusion: Can disease progression be prevented by early surgery? Journal of Rheumatology, 19(9), 1364-1370.