Cervical unilateral facet joint dislocation

Case contributed by Dr Boudiaf Zine-Eddine


Neurological symptoms after a motor vehicle collision.

Patient Data

Age: 40 years
Gender: Male

Cervical spine

The left inferior articular process of C5 completely jumped over the superior articular process  of C6 thus making it a Locked facet joint. Due to this and the associated degenerative changes, there is focal cervical canal narrowing with focal T2WI hyperintensity within the spinal cord indicating compressive myelopathy.  Note the absence of anterolisthesis.


Annotated image

The inferior articular process of C5 is completely anterior to the superior articular process of C6.

Case Discussion

MRI features are consistent with unilateral facet dislocation, a stable type of facet joint dislocation where the inferior articular process of one cervical vertebra is dislocated anterior to the superior articular process of the below vertebra. The condition is called locked facet, and shows naked facet sign on axial sequences 1,2.

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Case information

rID: 69669
Published: 22nd May 2020
Last edited: 23rd May 2020
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included
Institution: Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Constantine

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