C4-C5 post-traumatic spondyloptosis with in situ fusion: Systematic literature review and case report

Jaime Gasco, Daniel J. Dilorenzo, Joel T. Patterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


STUDY DESIGN.: A case report with systematic review of the literature. OBJECTIVE.: To report a case of post-traumatic C4-C5 spondyloptosis without neurological deficit not associated with posterior element fractures and presenting in a delayed fashion with fusion in situ of C4 and C5 vertebral bodies influencing the management strategy. SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA.: Traumatic spondyloptosis of the subaxial cervical spine is typically associated with neurological injury. To the best of the authorÊs knowledge, this is the first case of spondyloptosis not associated with fractures of the posterior elements but with locked facets at C4-C5 and fusion in situ, presenting in a delayed fashion with remarkable paucity of symptoms that was managed surgically. METHODS.: A 45-year-old male presented 8 months after a motor vehicle collision with radicular arm pain and mild spasticity involving the legs. Cervical radiograph, computed tomographic scan, and magnetic resonance image revealed bilateral locked facets at C4-C5 with spondyloptosis. Fusion had occurred in situ. RESULTS.: Traction did not correct alignment and the patient underwent circumferential reduction and fusion and postoperative halo-vest placement. At 6-month follow-up, the patient remained neurologically intact with regression of preoperative symptoms. CONCLUSION.: Longstanding post-traumatic spondyloptosis may lead to fusion in situ complicating the surgical management. Insufficient suspicion during workup can lead to the omission of this important diagnosis, further complicating operative intervention. Traction is not useful when in situ fusion has occurred in delayed presentation cases.Level of Evidence: N/A Copyright.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E621-E625
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 1 2013


  • ASIA
  • C4-C5
  • cervical
  • posterior fusion
  • reduction
  • spinal cord
  • spine
  • spondyloptosis
  • traction
  • trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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