Traumatic atlanto-occipital dislocation

Case report

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✓ Traumatic atlanto-occipital dislocation is a serious injury that is usually fatal. The number of patients surviving this injury, however, appears to be increasing, and most of these survivors are children. This may reflect an improvement in emergency transport services. Seventeen previously reported cases of patients surviving atlanto-occipital dislocation for more than 48 hours are reviewed and an additional case is presented. Many of these patients had an excellent neurological outcome. The radiographic criteria necessary for the diagnosis of atlanto-occipital dislocation are discussed. Cervical computerized tomography may confirm the diagnosis when necessary. It is suggested that there are three types of atlanto-occipital dislocation; utilizing this new classification, a rationale for treatment is described. Fusion is favored for long-term stability.

Article Information

Contributor Notes

Address reprint requests to: Howard H. Kaufman, M.D., Department of Neurosurgery, West Virginia University Medical Center, Morgantown, West Virginia 26506.
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