The classifications of subaxial cervical spine traumatic injuries. Part 5. Facet joint and lateral mass lesions




traumatic injury, classification, cervical spine, subaxial level, lateral masses, facet joints


Traumatic injury to the cervical spine accompanied by a wide range of possible changes in its osteo-ligamentous apparatus. One of the basic criteria to determine the treatment strategy is the assessment of injury stability which depends on the condition of the spine supporting columns. Most of the modern and widely used classifications of subaxial cervical spine traumatic injuries quite sufficiently characterize the state of the anterior support column. At the same time, much less attention is paid to the assessment of the degree and nature of traumatic changes in lateral masses, facet joints, as well as possible dislocations.

Literature analysis reveals the absence of a generally accepted scheme that would allow one to unambiguously and comprehensively characterize the damage to the facets / lateral masses and choose the optimal surgical or conservative treatment method. This review provides well known assessment schemes: classification of traumatic changes of facet joints by Marcel F. Dvorak et al., variants of traumatic displacement of the cervical vertebrae by V.P. Selivanov, variants of lateral mass traumatic injury by Y. Kotani et al. and Posterior Ligament-Bone Injury Classification and Severity Score.

The advantages and disadvantages of anterior, posterior or combined approach for the treatment of traumatic injuries of posterior support complex are considered that is of critical importance for obtaining better clinical results. It is noted that the choice of the optimal treatment method is currently a controversial issue. Although good surgical results can be obtained using a variety of methods, there are certain situations in which one technique may be better than others. The accumulated clinical experience and current research on the injured spine biomechanics demonstrate the advantage of surgical treatment in most patients, since such injuries are usually unstable or potentially unstable.

Author Biographies

Oleksii S. Nekhlopochyn, Romodanov Neurosurgery Institute, Kyiv, Ukraine

Spine Surgery Department

Ievgenii I. Slynko, Romodanov Neurosurgery Institute, Kyiv, Ukraine

Spine Surgery Department

Vadim V. Verbov, Romodanov Neurosurgery Institute, Kyiv, Ukraine

Restorative Neurosurgery Department


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How to Cite

Nekhlopochyn, O. S., Slynko, I. I., & Verbov, V. V. (2021). The classifications of subaxial cervical spine traumatic injuries. Part 5. Facet joint and lateral mass lesions. Ukrainian Neurosurgical Journal, 27(2), 3–15.



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