The upper cervical spine not only consists of intricate bony and ligamentous anatomy affording unique flexibility but also has increased susceptibility to injuries. The upper cervical spine trauma can result in a wide spectrum of injuries that can be managed both operatively and nonoperatively. Several existing classification systems have been proposed to describe injuries of the upper cervical spine, many of which rely on anatomic descriptions of injury location. Prior fracture classifications are limited in scope, characterizing fractures restricted to a single region of the upper cervical spine, and fail to provide insight into injury management. The AO Spine Upper Cervical Injury Classification System (AO Spine UCCS) has recently been developed as a comprehensive, yet concise classification scheme to describe all injuries of the upper cervical spine. The AO Spine UCCS represents a significant development in the classification of upper cervical spine injuries, with the potential to serve as a decision-making instrument to aid in patient management.
Recommended CitationKaramian, Brian A; Levy, Hannah; Minetos, Paul D.; Smith, Michael L.; and Vaccaro, Alex R., "Innovations in cervical spine trauma: Developing the next generation upper cervical spine injury classification system" (2022). Rothman Institute Faculty Papers. Paper 164.
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