You are here

Occipitocervical Dissociation


Occipitocervical Dissociation ICD-9

Occipitocervical Dissociation Etiology / Epidemiology / Natural History

  • High energy trauma
  • Often fatal

Occipitocervical Dissociation Anatomy

  • .

Occipitocervical Dissociation Clinical Evaluation

  • Palpate entire spine for tenderness / step off.
  • Complete neuro exam: motor strength, pin-prick sensation, reflexes, cranial nerves, rectal examination (perineal pin-prick sensation, sphincter tone, volitional spincter control)
  • Absence of the bulbocaverosus reflex indicates spinal shock. Level of spinal injury can not be determined until bulbocaverosus reflex has returned.
  • See ASIA form.

Occipitocervical Dissociation Xray / Diagnositc Tests

  • A/P, Lateral, Odontoid: findings may be suttle, evaluate relationship of occipute to the Atlas, small avulsion fractures, soft-tissue swelling
  • CT cervical spine:
  • MRI: i

Occipitocervical Dissociation Classification / Treatment

  • Immediate reduction with halo vest placement indicated followed by insturmented arthrodesis. (Vaccaro AR, Injury 2005;35(suppl 2):B44).

Occipitocervical Dissociation Associated Injuries / Differential Diagnosis

  • C-Spine Trauma Differential Diagnosis
  • Brainstem injury
  • Vertebrobasilar arterial injury
  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage
  • Posterior pharyngeal wall disruption
  • Head injury
  • Skull base fracutres
  • Lower cranial nerve palsies (CN12)
  • Upper cervical spine injuries

Occipitocervical Dissociation Complications

Occipitocervical Dissociation Follow-up Care

Occipitocervical Dissociation Review References

  • °


The information on this website is intended for orthopaedic surgeons.  It is not intended for the general public. The information on this website may not be complete or accurate.  The eORIF website is not an authoritative reference for orthopaedic surgery or medicine and does not represent the "standard of care".  While the information on this site is about health care issues and sports medicine, it is not medical advice. People seeking specific medical advice or assistance should contact a board certified physician.  See Site Terms / Full Disclaimer