Pseudofracture of the cervical spine: a pain in the neck!

Crawford, John R., Dillon, David, & Williams, Richard (2006) Pseudofracture of the cervical spine: a pain in the neck! In McPhee, Bruce (Ed.) SSA 2006, Taylored Images, Sydney, Australia, p. 48.


INTRODUCTION As a tertiary referral centre for spinal injuries we receive referrals from many different centers. The format and quality of imaging that accompanies these patients varies considerably. We report two cases where initial imaging demonstrated unstable cervical spine injuries that were subsequently found to be normal. The cases and images are presented.

CASE REPORTS A 19-year old female was transferred to our unit having fallen off a wall and sustaining a neck injury. The accompanying CT scan showed a C6 vertebral body fracture with bilateral fracture-subluxations of the facet joints. As there was a discrepancy with the clinical findings, a repeat fine cut CT scan was performed which was completely normal. The previous appearances were entirely due to artefact throughout the scan. A 46-year old male fell down stairs sustaining a neck injury and loss of consciousness. A CT scan of his cervical spine demonstrated an odontoid peg fracture (type II). Subsequent imaging showed the odontoid peg was completely normal. The initial CT appearances were entirely due to artefact caused by the patients’ tongue piercing!

DISCUSSION CT scans are used with increasing frequency in the assessment of cervical spine injuries. In both these case the abnormalities present on the initial scans were entirely due to artefact that was reciprocated through the entire CT scans. Reporting these cases reinforces the importance of careful clinical examination and correlation with appropriate investigations. If there is a discrepancy between the clinical and radiological findings then it is essential that further imaging is performed.

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ID Code: 6929
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: No
Additional Information: For more information, please contact the depositor:
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > CLINICAL SCIENCES (110300) > Orthopaedics (110314)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2006 (please consult author)
Deposited On: 11 Apr 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2015 00:05

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