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Upper cervical spine injuries are commonly associated with trauma and require significant forces to produce. When these injuries occur they can have devastating functional consequences. The distinctive anatomy of the upper cervical spine leads injuries to occur in predictable patterns. Injuries can occur to the unique osseus structures or ligamentous connections. Common injuries include occipital condylar fractures, atlanto-occipital dislocation, fractures of the ring of C1, ligamentous injuries involving the ring of C1, and the three types of fractures of C2, pars fractures, odontoid fractures and C2 body fractures. We present these common injuries found in the occipital-atlantoaxial complex and their management based on the current and historical literature.


P Syre, D Petrov, N R Malhotra. Management of upper cervical spine injuries: a review. Journal of neurosurgical sciences. 2013 Sep;57(3):219-40

PMID: 23877268

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