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March 1981

Atlantoaxial Subluxation: An Unusual Complication After Local Anesthesia for Tonsillectomy

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Otolaryngology, University of Oulu, Finland.

Arch Otolaryngol. 1981;107(3):181-182. doi:10.1001/archotol.1981.00790390047014

• After tonsillectomy, atlantoaxial subluxation occurred in two patients. Operations had been performed with the use of local anesthesia, and it was assumed that, during the injection of anesthetics, bacteria infected the prevertebral space. The initial symptoms of the prevertebral space infection were neck pain and stiffness; the movements of the neck were minimal, and opening of the mouth caused pain due to spasm of the deep cervical muscles. Both patients had persistent fever. The roentgenographically observed subluxation developed in one to two months after tonsillectomy. One of the patients was treated only with antibiotics; the other patient required atlantoaxial spondylodesis. Healing of the subluxation lasted about six months in both cases.

(Arch Otolaryngol 1981;107:181-182)

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