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Fracture of the occipital condyle: the forgotten part of the neck
  1. Andrew Kelly,
  2. Richard Parrish
  1. Department of Accident and Emergency, Derriford Hospital, Derriford Road, Plymouth PL6 8DH
  1. Correspondence to: Mr Kelly, Staff Grade (e-mail: doctorandykelly{at}


A case of occipital condylar fracture in a multiply injured and unconscious motorcyclist is reported. This injury was clinically unsuspected but found on the lowest cuts of head computed tomography. It is shown that this site is often inadequately imaged when scanning the head and neck in victims of trauma. The Anderson and Montesano classification of occipital condylar fracture is described. It is noted that types 1 and 2 are stable injuries but type 3 is potentially unstable. A retrospective analysis of 30 head computed tomography scans in trauma cases revealed that in only 16 were the occipital condyles adequately imaged. It is emphasised that vigilance is required to detect fractures of the occipital condyle and that it should be standard practice to include this area when performing computed tomography of the head in trauma victims.

  • occipital condyle
  • fracture
  • trauma

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  • Funding: none.

  • Conflicts of interest: none.