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a fracture of the cervical spine through the pedicles of C2; may be associated with an anterior dislocation of the C2 vertebral body with respect to C3.
hangman's fractureOrthopedics A bilateral avulsion fracture which extends through the pedicles of C2 at the pars interarticularis, without injuring the odontoid process, causing acute central cervical spinal cord damage with axial dislocation in the C3 vertebral body; HF occurs by extension/distraction–judicial hanging or extension/axial loading–eg, hitting a windshield in an MVA; neurologic injury is rare in hospitalized cases; forward subluxation of C2 on C3 may be present; ± 80% of HFs occur in MVAs, the rest from falls and diving–resulting in marked distraction at fracture site and at C2-C3 disc; immobilization is by collar in Pts with extension/distraction injury; collar or tongs with extension/axial load injuries; bracing with a halo is usually the most effective treatment; a collar should be used only if there is < 2 mm fracture displacement. See C2 fracture. Cf Capital punishment.
hang·man's frac·ture(hang'mănz frak'shŭr)
A break in the cervical spine through the pedicles of C-2; may be associated with an anterior dislocation of the C-2 vertebral body with respect to C-3.