A patient is presented with a cervical spinal cord transection which occurred after a motor vehicle accident in which the air bag deployed and the seat belt was not in use. The patient had complete quadriplegia below the C5 level and his imaging study showed cervical cord transection at the level of the C5/6 disc space with C5, C6 vertebral bodies and laminar fractures. He underwent a C5 laminectomy and a C4-7 posterior fusion with lateral mass screw fixation. Previous reports have described central cord syndromes occurring in hyperextension injuries, but in adults, acute spinal cord transections have only developed after fracture-dislocations of the spine. A case involving a post-traumatic spinal cord transection without any evidence of radiologic facet dislocations is reported. Also, we propose a combined hyperflexion-hyperextension mechanism to explain this type of injury.
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