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Delayed diagnosis of an odontoid fracture in a whiplash injury: (Verzögerte Diagnose einer Odontoidfraktur nach Schleudertrauma der Halswirbelsäule)

Lookup NU author(s): David Talbot


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Fractures of the odontoid process represent about 10-20% of all diagnosed cervical spine fractures. Approximately 35% of these fractures are classified as Type II according to Anderson and D'Alonzo. They can be potentially unstable especially if combined with a dens displacement of over 6 mm. In severe cervical spine trauma, these fractures do not usually cause difficulties in diagnosis. However, in whiplash injuries, which are very common and only rarely associated with such fractures, the surgical management can be complicated if they are underestimated. These patients can present without significant neurological deficits or the situation can be complicated due to intoxication or additional trauma. Under these circumstances in particular, the diagnosis can be delayed or missed, if no strict protocols for diagnostic effort in all whiplash injuries are employed. A case of delayed diagnosis of an odontoid fracture in a neurological asymptomatic patient after whiplash injury is presented.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Gerstenkorn C, Cacciola R, Thomusch O, Brucke M, Talbot D, Dralle H

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Der Unfallchirurg

Year: 2000

Volume: 103

Issue: 10

Pages: 895-897

Print publication date: 01/01/2000

ISSN (print): 0177-5537

ISSN (electronic): 1433-044X

Publisher: Springer


DOI: 10.1007/s001130050637

PubMed id: 11098750


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