Surgical treatment for upper cervical deformity with atlantoaxial joint dislocation using individualized 3D printing occipitocervical fusion instrument: A case report and literature review

Medicine (Baltimore). 2021 Mar 26;100(12):e25202. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000025202.


To introduce a novel technique of using individualized 3D printing occipitocervical fusion instrument (3D-OCF) for the treatment of upper cervical deformity with atlantoaxial joint dislocation.The surgery for deformity of the craniocervical junction area is a challenge in the field of spine. If the surgical deviation is too large to injure the spinal cord or vertebral artery, it will cause catastrophic damage to the patient. Therefore, it is controversial whether these patients should undergo surgical treatment. We provide a novel surgical approach for the challenging upper cervical surgery through 3D-OCF and a typical patient.We present a 54-year-old female patient, who suffered from dizziness and numbness in her limbs for 8 months. After the patient was admitted, we performed the three-dimensional CT scan, modeled using Mimics software 17.0, and designed customized occipitocervical fusion instrument. Besides, we repeatedly perform simulated surgery based on 3D-printed models before surgery.The operative time was 142 minutes and the intraoperative blood loss was 700 mL. X-ray showed reduction of atlantoaxial dislocation and accurate position of internal fixation. The patient's symptoms were significantly relieved: the sensation of dizziness and numbness of limbs was obviously relieved, and the sense of banding in chest, abdomen, and ankle was disappeared. At the last follow-up, imaging showed that 3D-OCF had bone-integration and Syringomyelia was disappeared. The patient's cervical JOA (Japanese Orthopaedic Association) score increased from 10 points to 17 points.Individualized 3D-OCF can improve the safety and accuracy of upper cervical surgery, reduce the operative time and the number of fluoroscopy. Our study provides a novel surgical approach for the challenging upper cervical surgery.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Atlanto-Axial Joint / abnormalities*
  • Atlanto-Axial Joint / diagnostic imaging
  • Atlanto-Axial Joint / pathology
  • Atlanto-Axial Joint / surgery*
  • Blood Loss, Surgical
  • Cervical Vertebrae / diagnostic imaging
  • Cervical Vertebrae / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • Joint Dislocations / diagnostic imaging
  • Joint Dislocations / pathology
  • Joint Dislocations / surgery*
  • Middle Aged
  • Occipital Bone / diagnostic imaging
  • Occipital Bone / surgery*
  • Operative Time
  • Ossification, Heterotopic / surgery
  • Printing, Three-Dimensional*
  • Spinal Fusion / adverse effects
  • Spinal Fusion / instrumentation*
  • Spinal Fusion / methods
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed