Kamran Khan, 20, suffered a Hangman’s fracture when he fell from the first floor terrace of a two-storey Noida house and landed on his head. The fracture is rare.
The doctors call it a dislocation of the C2 spine (Axis), when the head is forced into hyperextension, and usually involves the distraction of the neck.
In short, it means the neck has snapped.
Khan, a jobless labourer from Bachrao, a small village in Amroha district had arrived in Delhi just a day before the accident.
The accident nearly crippled his hopes of making a little fortune in the Capital.
In a seven-hour marathon surgery, a team of four doctors, including a senior anaesthetist, performed the complicated procedure on July 9, the day of the accident itself.
“The neck was opened from the front, where the dislocation was reduced and fixed by using a locally-produced plate and four screws,” said Dr Ajay Gupta, senior orthopaedic surgeon and medical superintendent at Sushruta Trauma Centre (STC), located near Inter State Bus Terminal (ISBT) in Kashmere Gate.
“In the second stage, the neck was opened again, but this time from the back. We fixed the broken bone using two imported plates and six screws.”
“We had to use extremely sophisticated plates for the nape as it supports the skull,” said Dr Gupta.
The boy is recovering well. He needs just a little help now to sit up straight on the bed. Firdauz, 40, can’t thank the Almighty enough for the miraculous surgery that saved her son’s life. “We had lost all hopes of his recovery. We knew he would live but only as a disabled," she said. “Now I am sure my boy will get strong again and find a job in Delhi.”
The doctors are happy too.
“It is a rare fracture and the patient was extremely lucky to survive. Even before we conducted the surgery, we had warned the family of dire consequences as he had a fracture in a very sensitive area," said Dr Navneet Goyal, assistant professor at STC.
“Kamran’s broken neck was found to be even worse than the conventional hangman's fracture, as there was a fracture of the posterior arch of not just C1 vertebrae but also the C2-leading to complete dislocation of the C1 and C2.”
Traditionally, these injuries occur during judicial hanging, when the noose is placed below the condemned subject's chin.
When the guilty is dropped, the head is forced into hyperextension by the full weight of the body, a sufficient force to cause the fracture.