Bilateral locked facets

Case contributed by RMH Core Conditions



Patient Data

Age: 30 years
Gender: Male

There is approximately 50% subluxation of C5 on C6, with intervertebral disc space narrowing. 

This is associated with bilateral dislocated facets joints at this level, in association with abnormal widening of the interspinous space. No fracture is identified. There is severe central canal stenosis at this level, with significant impingement of the cervical cord.

There is abnormal anterior vertebral soft tissue swelling centered at this level.


The findings are consistent with a severe hyperflexion injury, with bilateral locked facets at the C5/C6 level. 


Anterior discectomy and fusion is demonstrated at the level of C5/6.

There is mild kyphosis at this level with mild retrolisthesis of C6 on C5.

On the right, the facet joint is still dislocated and there is a 6 mm separation between the superior and inferior articular processes on the left.

Case Discussion

"Locked facets" are a type of facet joint dislocation, and is an unstable injury. 

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Case information

rID: 33850
Published: 27th Jan 2015
Last edited: 17th Dec 2019
Tag: trauma
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included

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