Use of a tubular retractor for transoral odontoidectomy of upper cervical epidural phlegmon extraction and abscess drainage

Orel A. Zaninovich, Nikolay L. Martirosyan, Wyatt L. Ramey, Travis M Dumont

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Anterior epidural abscess of the superior cervical cord with odontoid osteomyelitis is a rare but potentially devastating condition due to the potential for severe and irreversible neurological injury. Early and aggressive neurosurgical intervention and medical management is usually indicated in cases with symptomatic spinal cord compression and may be associated with superior clinical outcomes. Access to the craniovertebral junction for decompression of the upper cervical cord is complicated by the proximity of critical anatomical structures. The transoral approach is considered to be the standard for treating lesions of the odontoid and anterior epidural space of the superior cervical spine. The use of a tubular retractor for procedures of the craniovertebral junction has been described for several approaches to this region but its use has yet to be described for the transoral approach in a live patient. This report describes the novel use of a tubular retractor for cervicomedullary decompression via transoral odontoidectomy for abscess drainage and phlegmon resection in a patient with progressive cervical myelopathy. The tubular retractor serves to retract the pharyngeal wall flaps and expose the anterior arch of C1, odontoid, and inferior clivus. This variation of the transoral approach eliminates the need for stay sutures for these purposes and may be used for lesions of the odontoid and anterior epidural space of the superior cervical spine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)96-100
Number of pages5
JournalInterdisciplinary Neurosurgery: Advanced Techniques and Case Management
Volume10
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017

Keywords

  • Epidural abscess
  • Odontoid osteomyelitis
  • Odontoidectomy
  • Spine
  • Transoral
  • Tubular retractor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology

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