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Arch Hellen Med, 26(1), January-February 2009, 51-58


Traumatic spondylolisthesis of the axis of the cervical spine

1st Orthopedic Department, “Evangelismos” Hospital, Athens, Greece

Traumatic spondylolisthesis of the axis, also known as hangman’s fracture, is the second most common fracture of the second cervical vertebra (C2). It involves a bilateral arch fracture of the C2 pars interarticularis, with variable displacement and angulation of C2 on C3. The most common mechanism of injury is hyperextension associated with axial loading or compression forces, and it may be seen following motor vehicle accidents or falls. Νeurologic deficits are rare, because of spinal canal expansion. The diagnosis can be made on lateral plain radiographs in the majority of cases. The goals of its surgical treatment are reduction, stabilization and maintenance of alignment.

Key words: Axis, Cervical spine, Fracture, Pars interarticularis, Traumatic spondylolisthesis.

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