The most common type of injury to the cervical spine is blunt trauma to the atlantoaxial region, according to research reported in the Indian Journal of Orthopaedics. The most common sites of cervical spine injuries are the C6 and C7 vertebrae, and the most common causes of these injuries are accidental falls and motor vehicle accidents.
The severity of cervical spine injuries varies greatly, according to the Indian Journal of Orthopaedics. Approximately one-third of these injuries are considered clinically insignificant and consist of injuries such as minor damage to the ligaments of the cervical spinal column. Among more severe injuries, the most common fractures of the cervical vertebrae are odontoid fractures, resulting in a partial or complete fracture of the odontoid process at the top of the vertebrae, and fractures of the atlas. Together, these fractures account for approximately 30 percent of all cervical spinal fractures.
Cervical spinal injuries occur in approximately 2.4 percent of blunt trauma patients, reports the Indian Journal of Orthopaedics. However, physicians are estimated to miss clinically significant cervical spinal injuries in up to 30 percent of cases. These injuries are often missed due to inadequate imaging of the injury. Certain types of cervical spinal injury are also particularly difficult to detect, including odontoid and teardrop fractures.