Feasibility of Ultrasound Guided Atlanto-occipital Joint Injection

Ann Rehabil Med. 2012 Oct;36(5):627-32. doi: 10.5535/arm.2012.36.5.627. Epub 2012 Oct 31.


Objective: To evaluate the feasibility of ultrasound guided atlanto-occipital joint injection.

Method: Six atlanto-occipital joints of three cadavers were examined. Cadavers were placed in prone position with their head slightly rotated towards the contra-lateral side. The atlanto-occipital joint was initially identified with a longitudinal ultrasound scan at the midline between occipital protuberance and mastoid process. Contrast media 0.5cc was injected into the atlanto-occipital joint using an in-plane needle approach under ultrasound guide. The location of the needle tip and spreading pattern of the contrast was confirmed by fluoroscopic evaluation.

Results: After ultrasound guided atlanto-occipital joint injection, spreading of the contrast media into the joint was seen in all the injected joints in the anterior-posterior fluoroscopic view.

Conclusion: The ultrasound guided atlanto-occipital injection is feasible. The ultrasound guided injection by Doppler examination can provide a safer approach to the atlanto-occipital joint.

Keywords: Atlanto-occipital joint; Cadaver study; Ultrasound guided injection.