Flexion Tear Drop Fracture

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The flexion tear drop fracture represents the most severe injury of the cervical spine. It results from severe flexion force (head-on collisions in motor vehicles) and often presents with quadriplegia and loss of anterior column sensation. The involved vertebral body is posteriorly distracted relative to the teardrop fragment which remains attached to the anterior longitudinal ligament. The facets are usually subluxed, resulting in compression upon the spinal cord and severe neurologic injury.
 - Click on the image for a larger versionALateral radiograph of the cervical spine. This demonstrates the typical appearance of the flexion tear drop fracture of the C5 vertebral body. Copyright and courtesy of www.regionsem.org.

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