Cervical Spine Abnormalities in Children

Abstract

The early recognition and management of congenital cervical spine disorders is important in preventing the neurologic compromise that can occur as a result of instability or stenosis. Understanding of the anatomy and development of the pediatric cervical spine is imperative for the evaluation of these conditions. In this article we review the developmental anatomy and radiographic assessment of the immature cervical spine. Common upper cervical spine anomalies including basilar invagination, occipitalization of the atlas, dysmorphic atlas, odontoid anomalies, spinal stenosis, and segmental instability are reviewed. We also outline specific congenital syndromes that commonly involve the cervical spine, such as Klippel-Feil syndrome, Down syndrome, and skeletal dysplasias. The clinical presentation of these conditions and their management, including newer techniques of surgical fixation, are discussed.

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