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Definition of «Hangman injury (Hangman's fracture)»

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Hangman's fracture: A broken neck involving a fracture of an upper cervical vertebra similar to the injury suffered in death by hanging. The fracture always affects the vertebra called the axis -- the second cervical vertebra (C2) -- with or without subluxation (slippage) of C2 on C3. A hangman's fracture often causes death by suffocation, as nearly occurred to the actor/director Christopher Reeves when he was injured in an equestrian accident.

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