Craniocervical dissociation

Case contributed by Mr Andrew Murphy


Motor vehicle accident, patient arrested at scene.


The craniocervical junction is dissociated. The left atlantooccipital articulation is widened to 12 mm. The right occipital condyle is fractured and displaced from the base of skull by 10 mm. Subcutaneous emphysema dissects the tissue planes of the neck.

Case Discussion

Craniocervical dissociation accounts for around 6-8% of motor vehicle accident deaths. It is an uncommon injury that can lead to life changing consequences and death. As surgical treatment and pre-hospital care advances, early stabilisation of these injuries can lead to them becoming survivable. Regrettably due to the significant mechanism of injury, patients will often have multiple life-threatening injuries to accompany it 1,2.

PlayAdd to Share

Case information

rID: 47156
Published: 2nd Aug 2016
Last edited: 13th Apr 2017
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included

Updating… Please wait.

Alert accept

Error Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

Alert accept Thank you for updating your details.