Jefferson Fracture

Other Known Aliasesnone

Definitionburst fracture of C1 that results in a multi-part fracture of the anterior and posterior arches.

Clinical Significance the most common mechanism of injury for Jefferson fractures is direct axial loading or hyperextension seen in diving injuries or falls. Most are unstable and require emergency stabilization via traction or halo placement while awaiting surgery.

HistoryNamed after Sir Geoffrey Jefferson (1886-1961), who was a British neurologist and pioneering neurosurgeon, and received his medical doctorate from the University of Manchester in 1909. He had prolific career as a pioneering neurosurgeon in Manchester throughout the 1920s-30s culminating in performing the first surgical embolectomy in England in 1925 and becoming the first professor of neurosurgery at the University of Manchester in 1939. He published the description of his eponymous injuries in 1920 describing a series of four cases of similar injuries. Side note: He was also an advocate for advancements in surgical science and gave a ground-breaking lecture at the Royal College of Surgeons in 1949 entitled “The Mind of the Mechanical Man”, where he discussed one of the earliest electronic computers at Manchester and laid the foundation for the debate on artificial intelligence.


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  6. Sir Geoffrey Jefferson 1886-1961. JNS. 1961;18(3):407-408. [article]
  7. Jefferson G. Fracture of the atlas vertebra. Report of four cases, and a review of those previously recorded. BJS. 1919;7(27):407-422. [article]

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