Cervical spinous process fracture

Background

  • Isolated fracture of the spinous processes of the lower cervical or upper thoracic vertebrae
  • Caused by hyperflexion of neck → muscles pull on supraspinous ligament → avulsion fracture of spinous process
  • Also known as "clay shoveler's fracture"
  • A "stable" fracture
  • C7 is most commonly affected

Clinical Features

  • Pain in lower neck/upper back
  • Tenderness over fracture site

Differential Diagnosis

Cervical Spine Fractures and Dislocations

Evaluation

  • Plain films or CT (preferred to eval for other injuries) of cervical/thoracic spine
  • Neurologic exam (fracture only rarely associated with neurologic injury)

Management

Disposition

  • Discharge

See Also

References

Last modified on 9 June 2018, at 02:45