Cervical Fractures and Fracture-Dislocations Sustained without Head Impact
Because of its flexibility and structure, the cervical spine is disposed to various mechanisms of injury: although not so common as injuries caused by head impacts, cervical fractures and/or fracture-dislocations have been reported without direct impact to the head. Some cervical injuries reported have been sustained by wearers of lap and shoulder belts in auto accidents; however, we do not consider belt use a potential hazard because ample evidence has accrued in the medical and engineering literature to document general injury and fatality reduction by use of seatbelts. We believe that in many instances occupants would be more seriously injured or killed were belts not worn.
The present paper reviews reports of cervical injuries without head impact found in the literature and case histories of such injuries from the Highway Safety Research Institute of The University of Michigan, as well as experimental studies in animals, cadavers, and volunteer subjects.