STUDY DESIGN.: Case report and literature review. OBJECTIVE.: To discuss the diagnosis, limitations, and treatment of combined occipital-cervical and atlantoaxial disassociation with normal neurologic function. SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA.: Injuries to the craniocervical junction can lead to devastating neurologic deficits. Occipital-cervical disassociation is a well-documented injury pattern that can lead to pain, spinal cord injury, and death. Early diagnosis and treatment can preserve neurologic function. Combined injuries to both the occipital-cervical and atlantoaxial segments are less common and, to date, have only been described with severe neurologic injury. METHODS.: Retrospective review of a case. Literature review was performed through Medline and Pubmed searches. RESULTS.: This is the first case to present a combined occipital-cervical and atlantoaxial disassociation with a neurologically intact patient. Initial physical examination was limited, but early imaging revealed evidence of instability. Early diagnosis and early (<24) surgical stabilization was performed with no complications and neurologic preservation. One-year follow-up visit revealed normal neurologic examination with neck pain VAS = 2/10 and neck disability index = 6. CONCLUSION.: Combined injuries to the occipital-cervical and atlantoaxial can result in upper cervical instability. Despite previous reports, neurologic preservation remains a possibility in this injury pattern. Limitations in physical examination and radiographic imaging persist, but early diagnosis and surgical stabilization may improve neurologic outcomes.
- Atlantoaxial disassociation
- Combined injury
- Neurologic preservation
- Occipital-cervical disassociation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine