Cervical spine fracture - chalk stick

Case contributed by Dr Henry Knipe


Fall with headstrike.

Patient Data

Age: 85 years
Gender: Male

Fractured anterior osteophyte extending into the C6 vertebral body and posterior elements. Increased cervical lordosis. Extensive ossification of ALL and PLL with multilevel fusion. 

Case Discussion

When multilevel fusion is present, minor trauma can result in severe fractures. Spinal cord damage is also more common in these patients. 

Colloquially, this injury is known as a "chalk stick" or "carrot stick" fracture. These classically occur in ankylosing spondylitis but can occur in other settings such as DISH +/- OPLL, which may be the underlying diagnosis in this case. 

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Case information

rID: 39116
Published: 20th Aug 2015
Last edited: 14th Aug 2019
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included

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