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Eur Spine J. 2001 Oct;10(5):449-53.

Delayed closed reduction of rotatory atlantoaxial dislocation in an adult.

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Service de Chirurgie Orthopédique et Traumatologique, Centre Hospitalo-Universitaire Paris VI Pitié-Salpêtrière, Paris, France.


We report a case of rotatory atlantoaxial dislocation due to a rugby injury in an adult. The patient presented with torticollis 4 weeks after the injury. The neurological evaluation was normal. Reduction proved difficult to obtain and required 10 days of skull traction followed by gentle manipulation. After reduction, dynamic cervical radiographs showed no instability and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) confirmed that the transverse ligament was intact. After 6 weeks of immobilization in a Minerva jacket, a dynamic rotatory computed tomography (CT) scan confirmed that the atlantoaxial joint was stable. Such cases of atlantoaxial joint dislocation in adults treated by traction after a considerable delay are rare. In our patient, demonstration by MRI that the transverse ligament was intact led to the decision to use conservative therapy, which proved successful.

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