The incidence of atlanto-occipital dislocation has been encountered in 1 % of alive or dead victims of cervical spine injuries. The mechanism of injury includes extension and traction of the head which results to disruption of the ligaments around the Atlanto-Occipital region. The symptoms include severe neck pain and neurologic presentation which can range from no deficits to quadriplegia with ventilator dependency. Cranial nerve palsies of the fifth, sixth, ninth and eleventh nerves may be present. The classification describing this rare type of injury was proposed in 1986 by Traynelis et al and is based on the position of the Occipital condyles in relation to C1 (Atlas) vertebra.
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