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J Pediatr Orthop. 2005 Jul-Aug;25(4):484-6.

Cervical spine fracture-dislocation birth injury: prevention, recognition, and implications for the orthopaedic surgeon.

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Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.


Spinal cord birth injury is rare, and orthopaedic surgeons infrequently encounter it. The injury is associated with hyperextension of the fetal head in utero and during delivery and with forceps-assisted breech vaginal deliveries. These cervical spinal cord injures may be complete or partial. They most commonly occur in the absence of bony injury, which can lead to diagnostic difficulties. Ultrasound and MRI studies are valuable diagnostic tools for identifying spinal cord injury in cases of hypotonic newborns with difficult deliveries. The authors report an unusual case of spinal cord birth injury with frank cervical fracture-dislocation following a difficult footling breech vaginal delivery. Early recognition of hyperextension of the fetal head in utero and planned cesarean section are important prevention methods. While this type of injury is rare, the pediatric orthopedic surgeon must understand its nature and severity to facilitate timely treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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