Fracture of the odontoid process has in the past been considered an uncommon lesion with a discouragingly high fatality rate. Osgood and Lund28 reviewed the subject in 1928 and found the mortality rate to be more than 50% in the 55 cases reported to that date. Since then, however, there has been an increase in the number of recognized odontoid fractures because of the mounting numbers and severity of accidents as well as improvements in x-ray diagnosis. We reviewed the records of 63 previously unreported cases diagnosed since January, 1939. Although other serious injuries often made treatment difficult, death occurred in only five (8%) and only three failed to heal.
Many odontoid fractures as well as other injuries of the upper cervical spine remain overlooked. In conventional roentgenograms of the neck, teeth, mastoid processes, and base of the skull sometimes obscure details of the atlas and axis. Initial films
AMYES EW, ANDERSON FM. Fracture of the Odontoid ProcessReport of Sixty-Three Cases. AMA Arch Surg. 1956;72(3):377-393. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1956.01270210007002