Jefferson fracture

Case contributed by Fakhry Mahmoud Ebouda


Elderly victim involved in road traffic accident, the car rolled over. Now the patient is complaining of left finger numbness and weakness.

Patient Data

Age: 50 years
Gender: Male

Distracted fracture of the atlas vertebra, it is involving the anterior and posterior arches.

Increased atlanodental interval as the result of injury to the transverse atlantal ligament

Fracture of the left pedicle and articular facet, process of C6 & C7.Fracture of the left T. process of C7.

No facet interlocking.No retropulsed bony fragment.


Fairly normal caliber and signal pattern of the cervical spinal cord.

An intra-spinal small epidural subacute hematoma is seen opposite C1 & C2.

C5/6 and C6/7 posterior disc herniations.

Altered marrow signal pattern of C1 and C2 vertebrae.

Case Discussion

Jefferson fracture is the eponymous given to the burst fracture of C1. It is the result of axial head loading along the axis of the cervical spine. Consequent pushing of the occipital condyles that being driven into the lateral masses of C1.

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