Print version ISSN 1808-1851
CORNEJO, Nicolás Macchiavello; VILLAGRAN, Marcos Ganga; PUCCI, Manuel Pellegrini and IBACETA, Ronald Schulz. Rheumatoid arthritis of the cervical spine. Coluna/Columna [online]. 2009, vol.8, n.1, pp. 94-98. ISSN 1808-1851. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1808-18512009000100018.
Rheumatoid arthritis affects millions of people all over the world. Up to 86% of cases involve cervical spine alterations. Cervical spine instability patterns related to rheumatoid arthritis are: atlanto-axial subluxation, basilar invagination and subaxial instability. Once neurological deficit develops, progression can be fast and even lead to death. Rheumatoid arthritis treatment is mainly nonsurgical. Current medication and treatment protocols may prevent or delay the development of atlanto-axial disease. Periodical clinical and radiological examination help diagnose patients who already have neurological symptoms or those who are at risk of developing them, and who should thus be considered for surgical treatment. Preoperative neurological deficit is a predictor of postoperative neurological recovery, thus the importance of early detection and referral of patients at risk. Surgical treatment should be performed in specialized centers, by multidisciplinary groups. Along with early intervention, this should help reduce perioperative complications.
Keywords : Arthritis, rheumatoid [surgery]; Cervical vertebrae [pathology Spinal diseases].