The Occipitocervical region, where the skull meets the cervical spine, is a crucial juncture for stability and mobility. Conditions or injuries in this area can lead to severe neurological deficits and loss of function. Occipitocervical surgeries are specialized interventions designed to address complex disorders, congenital abnormalities, and traumatic injuries affecting this critical region.
Conditions Treated by Occipitocervical Surgery
- Basilar Invagination: This occurs when the upper part of the spine (axis) migrates upwards into the base of the skull, potentially causing neurological deficits. Occipitocervical surgery aims to correct the alignment and stabilize the spine.
- Craniocervical Instability: This condition involves excessive movement or instability at the junction between the skull and the upper cervical spine. Occipitocervical surgery can provide stability and prevent further damage.
- Occipital Condyle Fractures: Traumatic fractures of the occipital condyles, which can result from severe head or neck injuries. Surgery may be necessary to realign and stabilize the condyles.
- Os Odontoideum: A congenital anomaly where the dens (odontoid process) is not properly fused to the axis vertebra. Occipitocervical surgery may be performed to stabilize the spine and prevent neurological complications.
- Congenital Anomalies: Various congenital malformations, such as atlantooccipital fusion or assimilation, may require surgical intervention to correct abnormal anatomy and restore stability.
Occipitocervical surgeries involve surgical interventions at the junction where the skull (occiput) meets the cervical spine (neck). These surgeries are complex and specialized, typically addressing instability and deformities in this area. Common procedures under occipitocervical surgeries include:
- Occipitocervical Fusion: This is the most common procedure and involves stabilizing the skull and upper cervical spine. It's performed for conditions causing instability or misalignment, such as rheumatoid arthritis, congenital anomalies, trauma, tumors, or degenerative diseases. The fusion is achieved by using rods, screws, and bone grafts to create a stable construct between the occiput and cervical vertebrae.
- Decompression Surgery: In cases where there is compression on the brainstem, spinal cord, or nerves at the occipitocervical junction, a decompression surgery may be performed. This can involve removing bone or other structures causing the compression.
- Craniectomy: This involves the removal of a part of the skull to relieve pressure on the brain or to provide better access for treating spinal cord compression.
- Foramen Magnum Decompression: Performed for conditions like Chiari malformation, this procedure involves removing bone at the base of the skull and sometimes part of the upper spine to relieve pressure.
- Tumor Resection: Surgical removal of tumors at the occipitocervical junction, which may be combined with stabilization procedures if structural integrity is compromised.
- Revision Surgeries: These are performed to correct or address issues from previous surgeries at the occipitocervical junction, such as hardware malposition, non-union of a fusion, or infection.
- Cervical Laminectomy or Laminoplasty: In certain cases, these procedures are performed to decompress the cervical spinal cord, and may be part of a larger surgery involving occipitocervical fusion.
- Restored Stability: Occipitocervical surgeries aim to restore stability at the skull-neck junction, preventing further complications and improving overall spinal health.
- Alleviation of Neurological Symptoms: By addressing compression on neural structures, these surgeries can lead to a reduction in neurological deficits and improved function.
- Improved Quality of Life: With restored stability and reduced neurological symptoms, individuals often experience an overall improvement in their quality of life.
- Prevention of Further Damage: Occipitocervical surgeries can halt the progression of conditions, preventing further complications and potential neurological damage.
Call 011-42888888 to book an appointment with a specialist at Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute.