Does sitting versus standing radiographic assessment of odontoid fractures matter? A case report

Ilyas S. Aleem, Yazeed Gussous, Michael King, Jeremy Fogelson, Ahmad Nassr, Bradford L. Currier


Fractures of the odontoid are the most common cervical spine injury in the geriatric population. The relationship between odontoid fracture displacement and postural change has not been previously described. We present the first described case of an elderly female patient with thoracic kyphosis and a type II odontoid fracture demonstrating significant fracture displacement with a postural change from sitting to standing. Various radiographic parameters are assessed and discussed in an attempt to characterize and explain this finding. We highlight the importance of regional and global spinal alignment and quantify physiologic odontoid fracture behavior with postural changes in this growing demographic. Upright radiographs in both sitting and standing positions may be considered when concern for odontoid fracture stability is questioned.