The second cervical vertebra of the spine is commonly called the C2 vertebra, axis, or epistropheus. A fracture of the C2 vertebra is known as a hangman’s fracture or axis vertebra fracture. A general term for a fracture of any of the seven bones in the neck (cervical vertebrae) is a broken neck. The most common causes of C2 vertebrae fractures are auto accidents, slip and fall accidents, and diving in shallow water. A considerable amount of force is necessary to fracture the second cervical vertebra. A blow to the head or neck, or a severe sudden twist of the neck can result in an axis fracture. Other causes of second cervical vertebrae fractures include bicycle accidents,motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, high-speed highway accidents, SUV rollover accidents, utility vehicle rollover accidents and sporting accidents.
Other Associated Injuries
If the fracture results in displacement of bones or pieces of bone, the spinal cord may be injured. With any fracture or break in the cervical vertebrae, there is the risk of aspinal cord injury, which could cause loss of sensation, weakness, paralysis or even death. Not all cervical fractures result in a spinal injury. Also, because of the proximity of the neck to the skull, neck fractures are also sometimes associated with basilar skull fractures and traumatic brain injuries.
C2 Vertebra Fracture Diagnosis and Treatment
As a general rule with any severe head or neck trauma, a cervical fracture should be assumed until it can be ruled out by medical professionals. If you suspect someone has had a cervical fracture, summon medical help immediately and do not attempt to move the injured person. At a hospital, a C2 fracture can usually be identified with an x-ray. A CT scan may be requested to assess abnormalities not visible in a regular x-ray, and an MRI test may be requested to assess whether or not the spinal cord has been injured, and whether there has been damage to any other surrounding soft tissue. Surgery may be necessary to relieve pressure to the spinal cord or to stabilize the cervical vertebrae. Treatment of the fracture will vary depending on the severity of the injury. Doctors may use a variety of rigid collars and casts, including an Aspen collar, Malibu collar, Miami J collar, or Philadelphia collar. A more rigid brace may be used such as a SOMI brace or Yale brace. If more range of motion limitation is needed, a Halo brace may be used.
C2 Vertebra Fracture Injury Lawyers
The attorneys at Estey & Bomberger understand the many ways an injury such as a C2 vertebra fracture affects the rest of a person’s life. If an injury is the result of someone else’s negligent, reckless, careless or willful conduct, the victim may be entitled to compensation for their injuries, including medical care expenses, lost earnings, future therapy and rehabilitation, pain and suffering and other expenses related to an injury. If you or someone you love has been injured and would like a consultation, call (800) 925-0723 to speak with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys. All consultations are free and if we handle your case, we will not charge any fees unless we recovery compensation for you.