Ankylosing spondylitis

Case contributed by Dr Ian Bickle


Retired man with acute on chronic neck pain. High clinical concern resulted in CT following limited plain film views.

Patient Data

Age: 65 years old
Gender: Male

Aside from an open degenerative C5/C6 intervertebral disc space, the whole of the cervical spine is ankylosed.


The florid ankylosis of the whole visualized cervicothoracic spine is illustrated.

The angulation at C5/C6 is due to this being the only remaining non-fused intervertebral disc space.

The C5/C6 disc space is degenerative.


The rigid structure if bamboo from which the name of an ankylosed spine is rightly derived.

Case Discussion

Ankylosing spondylitis is a form of negative spondyloarthritides, nearly exclusively affecting males.

This is characterized with ankylosis of the spine and sacroiliac joints, forming in the most extreme cases a bamboo spine - the spine ankylosing into one rigid 'block' of bone, which is resultingly extremely susceptible to fracture.

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