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Acute longitudinal ligament rupture following acute spinal trauma

Donald Hansom, Calan Mathieson, Margaret Purcell, Duncan MacDonald
  • Donald Hansom
    Department of Trauma Orthopaedic Surgery, Royal Alexandra Hospital, Paisley, United Kingdom | jdhansom@gmail.com
  • Calan Mathieson
    Department of Trauma Orthopaedic Surgery, Royal Alexandra Hospital, Paisley, United Kingdom
  • Margaret Purcell
    Department of Trauma Orthopaedic Surgery, Royal Alexandra Hospital, Paisley, United Kingdom
  • Duncan MacDonald
    Department of Trauma Orthopaedic Surgery, Royal Alexandra Hospital, Paisley, United Kingdom

Abstract

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.

Keywords

acute longitudinal ligament, acute spinal trauma, cervical spine

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Submitted: 2013-08-31 18:30:27
Published: 2014-06-18 09:03:53
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Copyright (c) 2014 Donald Hansom, Calan Mathieson, Margaret Purcell, Duncan MacDonald

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