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Hangman's Fracture

Last updated Oct. 1, 2019

Approved by: Krish Tangella MD, MBA, FCAP

A Cervical Fracture is a break or crack that occurs in one of the three vertebral columns of the spine, called the cervical vertebrae. The other two vertebral columns of the spine are the lumber (lower back) and thoracic (mid-back).


The topic Hangman's Fracture you are seeking is a synonym, or alternative name, or is closely related to the medical condition Cervical Fracture.

Quick Summary:

  • A Cervical Fracture is a break or crack that occurs in one of the three vertebral columns of the spine, called the cervical vertebrae. The other two vertebral columns of the spine are the lumber (lower back) and thoracic (mid-back)
  • There are seven bones (C1-C7) within the cervical vertebrae that support the head and neck. A Cervical Fracture is also known as a Neck Fracture
  • Cervical Fractures are usually caused by any high-energy impact such as an automobile accident or a fall. Individuals, who participate in athletic sports, such as football or hockey, also have an increased risk of such fracture types
  • Treatment for a Cervical Fracture depends on the location of the injury and the type of fracture sustained

There are different types of Cervical Fractures. Physicians categorize Cervical Fractures based on the injury pattern and if a spinal cord injury has occurred. Classifying the fracture patterns may help determine the appropriate treatment. The most common types of Cervical Fractures include:

  • Odontoid Fracture: An Odontoid Fracture is a fracture of the pars interarticularis (also called the axis) on the pedicle of the C2 vertebrae. A fracture to the odontoid makes it difficult for individuals to have a full range of motion of their neck. This type of fracture is common in children
  • Hangman’s Fracture: A Hangman’s Fracture is another type of fracture that occurs to the C2 vertebrae
  • Jefferson Fracture: Jefferson Fracture is a fracture through the anterior and posterior arches of the C1 vertebra. When these fracture types occur, the C1 vertebra may also fracture
  • Teardrop Fracture: A Teardrop Fracture is an injury that occurs when one or more of the vertebrae within the lower neck fracture. A Teardrop Fracture is a flexion compression injury that may affect the surrounding ligaments and discs

Please find comprehensive information on Cervical Fracture regarding definition, distribution, risk factors, causes, signs & symptoms, diagnosis, complications, treatment, prevention, prognosis, and additional useful information HERE.

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Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: July 7, 2017
Last updated: Oct. 1, 2019