Atlanto-occipital dissociation

Case contributed by RMH Core Conditions


High speed motor vehicle collision.

Patient Data

Age: 30 years
Gender: Female

Alignment of the spine is disrupted.

Widening of bilateral atlanto-occipital joints is present consistent with severe ligamentous spinal injury and atlantooccipital dissociation.

High density material is demonstrated posterior to the dens and would be in keeping with hematoma which extends intracranially.

No cervical spine fracture is identified. ETT and NGT present and therefore prevertebral soft tissues cannot be assessed.

Case Discussion

The atlanto-occipital alignment is most easily assessed on coronal and sagittal planes and should be actively assessed on every trauma cervical spine study. 

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Case information

rID: 33848
Published: 27th Jan 2015
Last edited: 29th Aug 2020
Tag: trauma
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included