Atlanto- Axial Dislocation could be stated as a condition where there is an increased mobility or laxity between the body of the first cervical vertebra (atlas) and the odontoid process of the second cervical vertebra (axis).

Types of Atlanto Axial Dislocation

There are four different types of Atlanto axial dislocation which could be characterized as

1. Antero-posterior subluxation
2. Rotatory subluxation known as atlantoaxial rotator fixation (AARF):

  • Type1 Atlanto axial dislocation: The atlas is rotated on the odontoid with no anterior displacement.
  • Type2 Atlanto axial dislocation: is rotated on one lateral articular process with 3 to 5 mm of anterior displacement.
  • Type3 Atlanto axial dislocation: leads to a rotation of the atlas on both lateral articular processes with anterior displacement greater than 5mm.
  • Type4 Atlanto axial dislocation:
  • vertical subluxation
  • lateral subluxation


The various causes of Atlanto axial dislocation may be due to

      • Direct Trauma

  • Domestic fall
  • Automobile or car accident
  • Work accident

      • Bone Disorders

  • Osteoporosis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Ankylosing spondylitis


The treatment of Atlanto axial dislocation includes

1. Acute and Chronic Pain-

  • Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
  • Opioids
  • Muscle relaxants

2. Surgery for Atlanto-Axial Dislocation

Indication for Surgery

  • Subluxation of atlanto-axial joint
  • Dislocation: Partial or complete dislocation of Atlanto-axial joint

      • Choice of Surgery

  • Fracture reduction
  • Fusion of the join