Imaging of the Cervical Spine > Fractures > Flexion Teardrop

Flexion Teardrop Fracture

Description: posterior ligament disruption and anterior compression fracture of the vertebral body which results from a severe flexion injury.

Mechanism: hyperflexion and compression (e.g. diving into shallow water)

Radiographic features: (best seen on lateral view)

1. Prevertebral swelling associated with anterior longitudinal ligament tear.
2. Teardrop fragment from anterior vertebral body avulsion fracture.
3. Posterior vertebral body subluxation into the spinal canal.
4. Spinal cord compression from vertebral body displacement.
5. Fracture of the spinous process.

Stability: unstable

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