Introduction: Odontoid diameter in some individuals may not be large enough to accommodate two 3.5-mm cortical screws for anterior odontoid fracture fixation. The study was performed to evaluate, in a Brazilian population, the diameter of the odontoid process and the feasibility of using two 3.5-mm cortical screws for anterior odontoid fracture fixation.
Materials and methods: Computed tomographic (CT) scans of 88 adult patients (aged 18-78 years) were analyzed; 40 patients (45%) were male (mean age: 43.08 years) and 48 (55%) were female (mean age: 43.39 years). The minimum external and internal anteroposterior and transverse diameters of the odontoid process on sagittal and coronal planes were measured on CT multiplanar reconstructions of the cervical spine.
Results: The mean value of the minimum external anteroposterior diameter was 10.83 ± 1.08 and 7.53 ± 1.10 mm for the minimum internal anteroposterior diameter. The mean value of the minimum external transverse diameter was 9.19 ± 0.91 and 6.07 ± 1.08 mm for the minimum internal transverse diameter. The mean AP diameter was significantly larger than the mean transverse diameter; 57 (65%) individuals had the minimum external transverse diameter >9.0 mm that would allow the insertion of two 3.5-mm cortical screws with tapping, and five (6%) individuals had the minimum internal transverse diameter >8.0 mm that would allow the insertion of two 3.5-mm cortical screws without tapping.
Conclusions: The insertion of two 3.5-mm cortical screws was possible for anterior fixation of odontoid fracture in 57 (65%) individuals of our study, and there was no statistical difference between males and females.