Flexion cervical teardrop fracture

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Clinical Features

  • Severe flexion > vertebral body colliding with the one below (shallow water diving injury, MVC deceleration)
  • Most commonly at C5-C6
    • Displacement of teardrop shaped fragment of antero-inferior portion of superior vertebra
    • Leads to posterior displacement of vertebral body and disruption of posterior longitudinal ligament
  • Frequently occurs with spinal cord injury[1]
    • Associated with acute anterior cervical cord syndrome

Differential Diagnosis

Vertebral fractures and dislocations types

Vertebral anatomy.


  • Cervical xrays or CT


Prehospital Immobilization

See NAEMSP National Guidelines for Spinal Immobilization


  • C-collar
  • Consult ortho or spine as needed


  • Admit

See Also


  1. Fujimura, Y., Nishi, Y., Chiba, K. and Kobayashi, K. (1995) ‘Prognosis of neurological deficits associated with upper cervical spine injuries’, Spinal Cord, 33(4), pp. 195–202.