Institutional experience of tuberculosis of craniovertebral junction

Ravi Dasari, Kadali Satyavara Prasad, Phaneeswar Thota, Raman B. V. S.


Background: Craniovertebral junction tuberculosis (CVJ-TB) is a rare entity occurring in only 0.3 to 1% of tuberculous spondylitis. It causes severe instability and neurological deficits. Present study includes 16 cases of CVJ tuberculosis with neck pain and progressive quadriparesis. Radiological evaluation showed wide spread disease around clivus, C1, C2, C3 with extensive bony destruction, cord compression, basilar invagination and atlantoaxial dislocation.

Methods: The study included all the cases admitted with cv junction tuberculosis in neurosurgery ward in King George hospital, Visakhapatnam during a period of three years from 2014 to 2016. Four cases were managed conservatively and four cases were treated by only posterior occipitocervical fusion. We performed two stage operation in single sitting i.e. transoral decompression and posterior occipitocervical fusion in 12 cases. The pathological findings confirmed tuberculosis.

Results: Postoperatively all the patients had decreased neck pain and two third of the patients (10 of 16 patients) had improvement in motor power.

Conclusions: In the available literature, the treatment options offered for cvj-tb have ranged from a purely conservative approach to radical surgery without well-defined guidelines. In this study, we followed a radical approach as the patients included in our study presented with extensive TB cv junction. So, we recommend radical surgery for extensive TB of cv junction.


Atlanto axial dislocation, Basilar invagination, Craniovertebral junction

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