cervical dislocation

Last reviewed 01/2018

Cervical dislocations are the result of flexion-rotation injuries between C3 and T1. One or both of the articular facets of one vertebrae ride forward over the facets of the vertebrae below. Often one or both of the facets are fractured but there may be pure dislocation - 'jumped facets' - since the facets are relatively horizontal in the neck. The injury is unstable if the facets are not locked and is often associated with neurological damage.

Radiographically there is marked forward displacement of one vertebrae on the other;

  • less than one half displaced - single or unilateral facet dislocation.
  • half or more displaced - Bilateral facet dislocation.