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Management of Cervical Spine Anomalies in Children

This page was last updated on May 9th, 2017

Initial Management at Presentation

  • Occipitocervical instability: Posterior occipitocervical fusion with O-C2 instrumentation and rib autograft is indicated.
  • Atlantoaxial instability: Posterior C1-2 instrumentation and fusion with allograft and bone morphogenetic protein is most desirable, although autograft can be used. Instrumentation includes either C1-2 transarticular screw fixation or C1 lateral mass/C2 pars construct.
  • Subaxial cervical instability: Either posterior or anterior cervical instrumentation and fusion are indicated.

Adjunctive Therapies

  • Physiotherapy: Aside from the possible need for physical therapy, no adjunctive therapies are generally required.


  • Occipitocervical instability: Plain films are obtained 1 and 2 months postoperatively. Cervical CT is obtained 4 months postoperatively to document fusion.
  • Atlantoaxial instability: Plain films are obtained 1, 2, and 3 months postoperatively to document fusion.
  • Subaxial cervical instability: Plain films are obtained 1, 2, and 3 months postoperatively to document fusion.

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