Traumatic Left Cervical Facet Arthropathy
This exhibit depicts the lateral anatomy of the cervical spine and the mechanism of a traumatic cervical facet injury. Cervical facets are the posterior articulating surfaces that interlock adjacent vertebrae. They are covered in a layer of articular cartilage and are surrounded by a fibrous joint capsule containing lubricating synovial fluid. This allows the spine to flex, extend, and twist. Traumatic facet arthropathy is a degenerative condition of the facet joint resulting from a forceful impact of the articular surfaces. Injury to the articular cartilage causes friction within the joint, leading to swelling and the development of osteoarthritic spurs. This compresses the neural foramina and impinges upon the cervical nerve root.