Atlantoaxial rotatory fixation in adults patient

J Korean Neurosurg Soc. 2009 Apr;45(4):246-8. doi: 10.3340/jkns.2009.45.4.246. Epub 2009 Apr 30.


Atlantoaxial rotatory fixation (AARF) in adult is a rare disorder that occurs followed by a trauma. The patients were presented with painful torticollis and a typical 'cock robin' position of the head. The clinical diagnosis is generally difficult and often made in the late stage. In some cases, an irreducible or chronic fixation develops. We reported a case of AARF in adult patient which was treated by immobilization with conservative treatment. A 25-year-old female was presented with a posterior neck pain and limitation of motion of cervical spine after a traffic accident. She had no neurological deficit but suffered from severe defect on the scalp and multiple thoracic compression fractures. Plain radiographs demonstrated torticollis, lateral shift of odontoid process to one side and widening of one side of C1-C2 joint space. Immobilization with a Holter traction were performed and analgesics and muscle relaxants were given. Posterior neck pain and limitation of the cervical spine's motion were resolved. Plain cervical radiographs taken at one month after the injury showed that torticollis disappeared and the dens were in the midline position. The authors reported a case of type I post-traumatic AARF that was successfully treated by immobilization alone.

Keywords: Adult patient; Atlanotaxial subluxation; Conservative management; Radiography; Rotatory fixation; Torticollis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports