Magnetic resonance imaging documentation of coexistent traumatic locked facets of the cervical spine and disc herniation

S. E. Doran, S. M. Papadopoulos, T. B. Ducker, K. O. Lillehei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The coexistence of traumatic locked facets of the cervical spine and a herniated disc is not well described. The authors present a series of patients with traumatic locked facets who demonstrated a high incidence of associated disc herniation documented on magnetic resonance (MR) imaging. Thirteen patients with either unilateral (four cases) or bilateral (nine cases) locked facets of the cervical spine were analyzed retrospectively. Immediate closed reduction using traction and/or manipulation was attempted in the first nine cases treated and was successful in only three: however, the procedure was abandoned in three cases due to deterioration in the patient's clinical status. In the subsequent four patients, an MR image was obtained prior to attempts at closed reduction. All patients underwent MR imaging of the cervical spine. Of eight consecutive cases treated at the University of Michigan, frank disc herniation with fragmented disc in the canal was found in five while pathological disc bulging was found in the other three. All five cases contributed by other institutions had concurrent disc herniation. This series illustrates the importance of using MR imaging to document the presence of a herniated disc during the initial evaluation of a patient with traumatic locked facets of the cervical spine and prior to attempted reduction of the locked facets. Experience indicates that closed reduction of facet dislocation associated with disc rupture may result in increased spinal cord compression and neurological deficit. If a herniated disc is discovered, anterior discectomy and fusion would be favored as the initial therapy over attempts at closed reduction or operative posterior reduction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-345
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Volume79
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1993

Keywords

  • cervical fracture
  • cervical locked facet
  • intervertebral disc herniation
  • magnetic resonance imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology

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