Acute longitudinal ligament rupture following acute spinal trauma

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Donald Hansom *
Calan Mathieson
Margaret Purcell
Duncan MacDonald
(*) Corresponding Author:
Donald Hansom |


The authors present a rare case of anterior longitudinal ligament (ALL) rupture in a 47- year-old gentleman following a bicycle accident. The ALL is a continuous band of a variable thickness that acts as a primary spinal stabiliser. Stress, strain or rupture of the ALL usually occurs as a result of hyperextension, with the primary perpetrator being whiplash injuries. Such injuries have been shown to result in cervical spine instability during extension, axial rotation, and lateral bending modes. Spine radiographs of such patients may be routinely assessed as normal, therefore this specific type of injury does not lend itself to identification by traditional imaging methods. This account demonstrates the importance of having a high index of suspicion of a ligamentous neck injury in the setting of normal plain radiographs but abnormal clinical examination.

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