Personalized treatments for people with back pain and spine disorders
Published: Sept. 29, 2010
Updated: Nov. 17, 2010
Basilar invagination, also known as cranial settling, is a rare condition in which the second vertebrae in the neck, known as the dens or odontoid process, pushes upward and puts pressure on the brain stem or spinal cord, causing various neurological symptoms.
This condition may be present at birth or develop as a result of disease or injury.
Symptoms include dizziness, headache, tingling, or numbness in upper extremities, pain in the neck when it is bent, and difficulty swallowing. Symptoms typically depend on the amount of pressure on the brain stem and spinal cord.
Your physician will order a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) scan. A physical examination is also necessary to determine the extent of your clinical signs and symptoms.
Surgery is typically the treatment of choice for this condition. Cervical traction may be used to alleviate compression of the brain stem and spinal cord. In cases of severe compression, direct removal of the dens may be necessary.
The specialists at the Duke Spine Center are experts in a number of techniques to treat basilar invagination.