Unilateral facet lock

Case contributed by Craig Hacking


Motorbike accident. Neck pain.

Patient Data

Age: 35 years
Gender: Male

The vertebral body of C6 is anteriorly displaced relative to C7. The C6/7 facet joints are abnormally aligned, with one dislocated anteriorly (locked), and the other almost perched.

Case Discussion

A radiograph was performed at a rural center before the patient was transferred to a tertiary trauma, where a CT confirmed the diagnosis (scan not available).

Classically as one of the facets is still normally aligned, the amount of anterolisthesis is limited to less that 25 - 50%. Both facets would need to be dislocated to achieve greater anterolisthesis.

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