If you’ve never heard of an internal decapitation, you may be surprised to know that there are victims in auto accidents who have survived this terrifying condition. This injury occurs when the internal ligaments that connect the vertebrae of the spine to the skull are severed and may go on to cause a trans-atlanto dislocation.
Unlike the common idea of a decapitation, the head does not detach from the body during an internal decapitation. However, it is easy for a spinal cord injury to occur if this happens since the head is unstable and may move around much more than it should. This may lead to damage to the brain stem and impact all kinds of functions around the body.
Understanding a trans-atlanto dislocation
Medical experts know this condition as the fracture dislocation of either the C1 or C2 vertebrae. They may also call it a traumatic anterolisthesis of C1 and C2. All this means is that the vertebrae at the top of the spine have slipped out of place because of the trauma. Oftentimes, these injuries lead to paralysis from the neck down, so they’re only discovered after a patient’s death.
Surprisingly, some people do survive. This is part of the reason why staying still and waiting to stabilize the head after a collision is important. Stabilization of the head and neck may prevent the skull from moving out of alignment. Then, surgery can be used to reattach the ligaments or to use wires, screws and other tools to secure the head and neck.
This severe injury is life-changing for victims and needs prompt medical attention. Families of those who have passed from this injury or survivors may then seek compensation from an at-fault driver for causing this severe condition.