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Papers of the Week

2020 Sep

Arch Rehabil Res Clin Transl



Cervical Dystonia Caused by Chronic Nonunion C2 Fracture: A Case Report.


Zhang S, Sibel J, Dadgar-Kiani M, Overdorf P, Flemming DJ, Gater DR
Arch Rehabil Res Clin Transl. 2020 Sep; 2(3):100073.
PMID: 33543096.


Chronic nonunion cervical fracture leading to cervical dystonia (CD) is very rare. This study reports a 72-year-old man who presented with 9-month history of progressively worsening neck tilting, neck tightness, neck pain, headache, and difficulty with swallowing. The patient was referred to speech therapy and confirmed to have dysphagia on modified barium swallow study. A cervical spine radiograph showed a chronic C2 nonunion fracture. Subsequent cervical spine magnetic resonance imaging confirmed chronic C2 nonunion fracture with kyphotic deformity of the cervical canal with associated cord compression at C1-C2 and severe central canal stenosis. Needle electromyography revealed dystonic or spasmodic neck muscles, consistent with diagnosis of CD. Botulinum toxin injection resulted in marked clinical improvement. The patient finally underwent occipital to C4 posterior segmental fusion. No recurrence of CD had occurred 12 months after botulinum toxin injection and surgery, which supports the conclusion that chronic C2 nonunion fracture is most likely responsible for CD in this case. The authors suggest that all patients with CD receive dysphagia evaluation and more importantly cervical spine imaging to rule out chronic C2 nonunion fracture.