Posterior C2 fixation using bilateral, crossing C2 laminar screws: case series and technical note

J Spinal Disord Tech. 2004 Apr;17(2):158-62. doi: 10.1097/00024720-200404000-00014.


Rigid screw fixation of the axis, for either atlantoaxial fixation or for incorporation of C2 into subaxial cervical constructs, provides significant stability and excellent long-term fusion results but remains technically demanding due to the danger of injury to the vertebral artery. Anatomic variability of the foramen transversarium in the body of the axis can preclude safe transarticular C1-C2 screw placement in up to 20% of patients. Although more recent methods of C2 screw fixation with pedicle screws allow safer fixation in a higher number of patients, there remains a significant risk to the vertebral artery with C2 pedicle screw placement. The author describes a novel technique of C2 rigid screw fixation using bilateral, crossing C2 laminar screws, not previously reported in the literature, which does not place the vertebral artery at risk during C2 fixation. This technique has been successfully used by the author in cases of craniocervical and atlantoaxial fixation as well as for incorporation of C2 into subaxial fixations. The technique is illustrated, and the author's initial experience in treating 10 patients with crossing, bilateral C2 aminar screws for indications of trauma, neoplasm, pseudarthrosis, and degenerative disease is reviewed. The possible advantages of C2 fixation with C2 laminar screws are discussed.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Atlanto-Axial Joint / surgery
  • Bone Screws*
  • Cervical Vertebrae / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Joint Instability / surgery
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Spinal Fusion / methods*