Atlantoaxial dislocation

Atlantoaxial dislocation is dislocation of the first two bones in the neck (atlas and axis). Symptoms may not be present if the dislocation is mild.

Occasionally dislocation of these bones can be severe, leading to spinal cord compression. Symptoms of severe atlantoaxial dislocation with spinal cord compression include:

  • Neck pain.
  • Change in walking ability.
  • Weakness in the arms and legs.
  • Limited neck movement.
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control.
  • Difficulty breathing.

Last Updated: August 4, 2009

Author: Debby Golonka, MPH

Medical Review: Michael J. Sexton, MD - Pediatrics & Siobhan M. Dolan, MD, MPH - Reproductive Genetics & David Smith, MD - Family Medicine

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