Multiple noncontiguous injuries of the spine in a child: atlantooccipital dislocation and seat-belt injury of the lumbar spine

Acta Orthop Belg. 1997 Mar;63(1):23-7.


Multiple noncontiguous injuries of nonadjoining regions of the spine in children are rare. Such injuries can be overlooked as the neurological deficit caused by one injury can be masked by the other. The combination of atlantooccipital dislocation and a seat-belt injury of the spine in children is rare. We describe an unusual case of atlantooccipital dislocation in combination with a seat-belt injury of the lumbar spine in a surviving child. Early halo-vest immobilization was an effective treatment in this patient. Although survival with atlantooccipital injuries is becoming common, severe and persistent neurological deficits can result in high morbidity. A brief description of the pathomechanics, diagnosis and treatment of the atlantooccipital dislocation and lumbar seat-belt injury is given.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Atlanto-Occipital Joint / diagnostic imaging
  • Atlanto-Occipital Joint / injuries*
  • Braces
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Joint Dislocations / diagnostic imaging
  • Joint Dislocations / therapy*
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / injuries*
  • Male
  • Multiple Trauma / diagnostic imaging
  • Multiple Trauma / therapy*
  • Radiography
  • Seat Belts / adverse effects*
  • Spinal Fractures / diagnostic imaging
  • Spinal Fractures / etiology
  • Spinal Fractures / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome