Alar ligament calcification (right): mimicking a fracture

Case contributed by Christof Igler


Low-speed car crash.

Patient Data

Age: 40 years
Gender: Female

Nodular calcified fragment in the right periodontoid tip area. 

Nodular calcification between the odontoid tip and the right occipital condyle.

Case Discussion

Calcification in the alar ligament is a rare condition.

It is usually a result of a traumatic injury or inflammatory disease, especially in the elderly.

Some studies report an association with neck pain, relieved by anti-inflammatory drugs and neck immobilization. 

Calcification or ossification of the alar ligament is an uncommon normal variant and can mimic an acute fracture of the craniovertebral junction  

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