Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Orthopedic Teaching

Spine Case 10 Background

Odontoid Fracture


Background

Fractures of the odontoid process (or dens) of C2 are amongst the most common cervical spine fractures, yet they are frequently missed. The incidence increases with age.

There are three types of odontoid fractures:

- Type I fractures are the least common (~5-6%) and involve the tip of the dens.

- Type II fractures involve the base of the dens and are the most common (>65%).

- Type III fractures are through the body of C2 and are the next most common (~29%)