Swischuk line

The Swischuk line is helpful in differentiating pathological anterior displacement of the cervical spine from physiological displacement, termed pseudosubluxation.

  • the line is drawn from anterior aspect of posterior arch of C1 to anterior aspect of posterior arch of C3
  • the anterior aspect of posterior arch of C2 should be within 1-2 mm of this line:
    • if deviated less than 2 mm: it is consistent with pseudosubluxation, but this alone is insufficient to rule out a hangman fracture
    • if deviated more than 2 mm: it is indicative of true subluxation

History and etymology

Named after Leonard Swischuk: American (US) radiologist 1 and prominent paediatric radiologist.

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Article information

rID: 12474
Section: Signs
Tags: stub, cases
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Swischuk's line

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