Fractures of the axis: a review of pediatric, adult, and geriatric injuries

Megan E. Gornet, Michael P. Kelly

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Fractures of the second cervical vertebra (C2, axis) are common in adult spine surgery. Those fractures occurring in younger adult patients are often associated with high-energy mechanism trauma, resulting in a “Hangman’s Fracture.” Management of these fractures is often successful with nonoperative means, though surgery may be needed in those fractures with greater displacement and injury to the C2-C3 disc. Older patients are more likely to sustain fractures of the odontoid process. The evidence supporting surgical management of these fractures is evolving, as there may be a mortality benefit to surgery. Regardless of treatment, longer-term mortality rates are high in this patient population, which should be discussed with the patient and family at the time of injury. Pediatric patients may suffer fractures of the axis, though differentiation of normal and pathologic findings is necessary and more difficult with the skeletally immature spine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505-512
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Reviews in Musculoskeletal Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016


  • Axis
  • C2
  • Fracture
  • Hangman’s
  • Odontoid
  • Spondylolisthesis

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