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Clay-shoveler fracture

Case contributed by David Cuete
Diagnosis certain


Neck pain after car accident.

Patient Data

Age: 35 years
Gender: Male

X-ray cervical spine


Fracture through the spinous process of C6 vertebra.

CT Cervical spine


CT confirms an oblique fracture of the C6 vertebra with slight displacement. There is no extension to the lamina or facet joint on axial CT.

Case Discussion

This fracture (Clay-shoveler fracture) is mechanically stable unless the fracture is extended into the lamina. It is also important to evaluate the facet joint looking for fracture or dislocations.

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