C5 facet fracture

Case contributed by Maxime St-Amant
Diagnosis certain


Front seat passenger in a MVA; rule out fracture.

Patient Data

Age: 18
Gender: Female

There is straightening of the cervical spine with minimal anterolisthesis of C5/C6. There is mild posterior bowing of the facet joint. There is no fracture line and no swelling of the prevertebral soft tissues.


Oblique fracture at C5 extending from the posterior aspect of the left pedicle to the lateral aspect of the ipsilateral lamina and through the inferior articular facet. There is slight subluxation of the left C5-C6 facet joint with posterior bowing.

Case Discussion

Plain film findings can be subtle in the setting of acute trauma. Listhesis and facet joints should not be overlooked and, when in doubt, CT has to be recommended.

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