Introduction: Cervical ligamentous injuries in patients with ankylosing spondylitis (AS) may be difficult to detect, even with the utilization of computed tomography (CT) scans. The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence AS has on various radiologic parameters used to detect traumatic and degenerative pathologies of the cervical spine.
Methods: A matched, case-control retrospective analysis of patients with AS and controls without AS admitted at two level-1 trauma centers was performed. All patients were admitted via shock room and received a polytrauma CT. Study patients were included if they had no injury to the cervical spine. Twenty-four CT parameters of atlanto-occipital dislocation/ instability, traumatic and degenerative spondylolisthesis, basilar invagination, and prevertebral soft-tissue swelling were assessed. Study patients were matched by age and sex.
Results: A total of 78 patients were included (AS group, n=39; control group, n=39). The evaluated cervical radiologic parameters were largely within normal limits and showed no significant clinical or morphologic differences between the two groups.
Conclusion: In this analysis, CT measurements pertaining to various cervical pathologies were not different between patients with and without ankylosing spondylitis. Parameters to assess for atlanto-occipital dislocation/ instability, spondylolisthesis, or basilar invagination may reliably be used in patients with AS.