Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation
Communicative Disorders, MS
Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)
O-C2 fusion; dysphagia; spine; occipitocervical fusion; quality of life; SWAL-QOL
The fusion of the second cervical vertebrae to the occipital bone (O-C2 fusion) for head stabilization can result in postoperative dysphagia and dyspnea, negatively impacting the patient’s quality of life. Currently, the O-C2 angle is used for head placement, which may not place the head neutrally. We hypothesize that aligning the external auditory meatus with midline of the C2 will reduce oropharyngeal stenosis, reducing dysphagia. One male patient with poor swallow quality of life who required a revision of a previous O-C2 surgery was evaluated via videofluoroscopy and completed the standard swallow quality of life questionnaire (SWAL-QOL) before and after revision. The diameter and area of the oropharyngeal space were measured. Data shows increased oropharyngeal area and diameter after surgery, and an improved SWAL-QOL score. This is early evidence of an improved surgical approach for O-C2 fusion which could eliminate the complication of dysphagia.
McClure, M. Kathryn, "A new surgical approach for O-C2 fusion, solving the problem of dysphagia." (2018). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 2981.