Anterior correction of cervical spine lordosis using an adjustable depth tap: Technical note

Andrew Jea, Steven Vanni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: In cases of multilevel anterior cervical spine decompression where intervening vertebral bodies need to be incorporated into the anterior plate construct, it may be difficult to apply the plate flush against the entire anterior cortical surface of the spine segment. Some have suggested using the levering property of bicortical screws to "pull" the body against the plate. Others have recommended contouring the anterior cervical plate with a plate bender. The objective of this work was to describe a novel technique using the adjustable depth tap provided in the Atlantis plating system for achieving cervical spine alignment against the lordotic plate after multilevel anterior decompression. Methods: We describe an illustrative case of a 14-year-old girl with complex cervical spine fractures after trauma. We used the 4.0-mm adjustable depth tap in the Atlantis plating system to lever the C4 body against the premachined lordotic plate. Results: Cervical lordosis and anterior cervical plate placement were accomplished after multilevel anterior cervical decompression with the use of an adjustable depth tap. Conclusions: Bicortical screw placement and plate bending have drawbacks in trying to apply the anterior cervical plate firmly to the anterior surface of the cervical spine. We describe a new and safe technique of using an adjustable depth tap for achieving that same goal without any obvious drawbacks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)178-181
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Spinal Disorders and Techniques
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2005


  • Anterior correction
  • Anterior plating system
  • Anterior reduction
  • Cervical spine fracture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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