Management of delayed posttraumatic cervical kyphosis

Alejandro J. Lopez, Justin K. Scheer, Kingsley Abode-Iyamah, Zachary A. Smith, Patrick W. Hitchon, Nader S. Dahdaleh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We describe three patients with misdiagnosed unstable fractures of the cervical spine, who were treated conservatively and developed kyphotic deformity, myelopathy, and radiculopathy. All three patients were then managed with closed reductions by crown halo traction, followed by instrumented fusions. Their neurologic function was regained without permanent disability in any patient. Unstable fractures of the cervical spine will progress to catastrophic neurologic injuries without surgical fixation. Posttraumatic kyphosis and the delayed reduction of partially healed fracture dislocations by preoperative traction are not well characterized in the subaxial cervical spine. The complete evaluation of any subaxial cervical spine fracture requires CT scanning to assess for bony fractures, and MRI to assess for ligamentous injury. This allows for assessment of the degree of instability and appropriate management. In patients with delayed posttraumatic cervical kyphosis, preoperative closed reduction provided adequate realignment, facilitating subsequent operative stabilization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)152-159
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Neuroscience
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Cervical fracture
  • Kyphosis
  • Post traumatic kyphosis
  • Traction
  • Unstable cervical fractures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Surgery


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