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The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1865-1380-7-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
MW contributed to the concept, design and revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content. RU carried out acquisition of data and drafted the manuscript. HA contributed with radiological findings and related intellectual content. SA gave final approval of the version to be published. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Occipital condyle fractures (OCF) are rare traumatic injuries and are of critical clinical importance because of the anatomic considerations of the occipitoatlantoaxial joint complex. OCF can be a diagnostic challenge because of the inability to diagnose this injury with plain radiographs. This is especially true in the emergency department (ED) setting. A high degree of clinical suspicion and careful investigation of the craniocervical junction is warranted in patients presenting to the ED with head and cervical trauma.
We present a case of a 45-year-old male who presented to the ED with complaints of neck pain and headache four days after an assault. The classification, clinical presentation, diagnosis, and management of his injury are discussed, and pertinent literature is reviewed.
OCF can be easily overlooked due to multiple factors; including the conscious state of the patient or the inability to diagnose it through plain radiographs. Early recognition and diagnosis of OCF is crucial to prevent neurological involvement.