Traumatic irreducible non-Hangman’s type bilateral C2-C3 high-grade facet dislocation: technical nuance

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Majority of C2-C3 vertebral dislocations occur as in combination with bilateral pars fractures, also known as Hangman’s fractures. Isolated C2-C3 facet dislocation without any associated C2 fracture is a very rare injury. One such case has been presented in this report. A 29-year male was involved in a road traffic accident (RTA) after which he developed midline neck pain. Following a minor neck manipulation at a hair salon 15 days after the RTA, his neck pain worsened and he developed quadriparesis. Imaging at the time of admission showed bilateral high-grade C2-C3 facet dislocations without any associated fracture of C2 vertebra. Due to non-reduction of the dislocation with skeletal traction, surgery was contemplated. Intraoperatively, the C2-C3 joint spaces were opened but only partial reduction could be achieved. Complete reduction was achieved only after opening of the C1-C2 joints was performed. Later, C2-C4 screw-rod constructs were placed. Patient achieved good outcome with resolution of symptoms. This report concludes that, in cases of delayed presentation of irreducible C2-C3 bilateral facet dislocations and non-reducibility by skeletal traction, opening of the C1-2 joints may need to be performed in addition to the C2-C3 joint spaces, in order to achieve complete reduction.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Neurosurgery
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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