(atlanto-occipital dislocation), also known as internal
decapitation describes the separation of the skull from C1 and C2
vertebrae due to severe cervico-cranial injury. Associated facial and
head injuries are common. Reports of adult AOD have been commonly
described in front-end motor vehicle collisions with unbelted occupants
and airbag interactions. It may be a devastating condition that may
result in sudden cardiorespiratory arrest and accounts for 15% of fatal
spinal trauma. It occurs 5 times more commonly in children than adults.
Neurologic injury is usually severe secondary to ligamentous
disruption. Cranial nerve deficits are common among survivors.
There are several methods described to diagnose this injury: