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Spinal Fractures Complicating Ankylosing Spondylitis

T. HUNTER, M.B., B.S., F.R.C.P. (C); and H. DUBO, M.D., F.R.C.P. (C)
[+] Article and Author Information

Presented in part at the Forty-Fifth Annual Meeting of The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, January 1976.

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Dr. Thomas Hunter; Section of Rheumatology, University of Manitoba Health Sciences Centre; 800 Sherbrook Street; Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3A 1M4, Canada.


Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


© 1978 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians


Ann Intern Med. 1978;88(4):546-549. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-88-4-546
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The ankylosed osteoporotic spines of patients with long-standing ankylosing spondylitis are prone to fracture. The spinal trauma is of a trivial nature in many patients and the diagnosis may be overlooked, unless neurologic damage occurs. The fractures most commonly occur in the cervical region and may be multiple. Because of spinal osteoporosis and deformity, radiographic visualization of the fracture site may be difficult. Tomography may be helpful in some patients. Management may be conservative or surgical and is complicated by increased instability of the fracture site, spinal osteoporosis, and deformity. Conservative management of cervical fractures is probably best accomplished by halo traction and body cast. Progression of the neurologic deficit is an indication for surgical intervention.

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