Cleft of the posterior arch of C1 mimicking fracture

Case contributed by Dr Bruno Di Muzio


MVA trauma.

Patient Data

Age: 20 year-old
Gender: Male

CT Cervical spine (selected images)

Median cleft in the posterior arch of the Atlas (C1) with regular borders lined by cortical bone. Remainder vertebral bodies, discs, spinal canal, and soft tissue are normal. 

Case Discussion

This case illustrates a congenital anomaly of the posterior atlas (C1) arch characterized by its incomplete posterior fusion leading to a cleft. Like in this case, the main significance of this finding is when a fracture must be excluded. The absence of other associated abnormalities, the atypical pattern considered the trauma kinetic and the cortical lining the edges of the cleft help to make this differentiation. 

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Case information

rID: 40201
Published: 12th Oct 2015
Last edited: 14th Aug 2019
System: Spine
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included

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