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  • Science & Technology
  • Life Sciences & Biomedicine
  • Medicine, General & Internal
  • General & Internal Medicine
  • tear drop fracture
  • axis
  • conservative treatment
  • nonunion
  • surgical treatment
  • AXIS

Analysis of Nonunion in Conservatively Managed Anterior Tear Drop Fractures of C2 Vertebra


Journal Title:



Volume 10, Number 9


Type of Work:



Many anterior C2 (2nd cervical vertebra) tear drop (TD) fractures can be successfully managed with conservative treatment. However, due to the occurrence of nonunion, large-sized or complex anterior C2 TD fractures undergo surgical treatment. To date, no surgical treatment guidelines are available about anterior C2 TD fractures. Therefore, we performed this study to investigate the factors that may affect nonunion for anterior C2 TD fractures and to suggest surgical treatment guidelines. Thirty-three patients with anterior C2 TD fractures, who underwent conservative treatment and had a minimum 1-year follow-up, were divided into union (N = 26) and nonunion (N = 7) groups. Their radiological and clinical data were analyzed retrospectively and compared between the two groups. The avulsion fracture ratio (29.5% vs. 43.3%, p < 0.05) and fracture displacement (3.6 mm vs. 5.1 mm, p < 0.05) were higher in the nonunion group compared to the union group. Incidence of associated C2 injury was higher in the nonunion group compared to the union group (15.4% vs. 57.1%, p < 0.05). Union status was negatively correlated with associated C2 injury (correlation coefficient, CC = −0.398, p < 0.05). Our results suggest that surgical treatment could be considered for anterior C2 TD fractures with an avulsion fracture ratio > 43%, fracture displacement > 5 mm, or associated C2 injury.
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