There is still some controversy about the reduction of unilateral and bilateral facet dislocations in the cervical spine. We have reviewed the notes and radiographs of 210 such patients; reduction was attempted by manipulation under anaesthesia (MUA) in 91, and by rapid traction under sedation in 119, using weights up to 150 lb (68 kg). Our results suggest that early reduction in patients with neurological deficit gives the best chance of neurological recovery, that rapid traction is more often successful than MUA, and that traction is safer than MUA. We found that the use of heavy weights with close monitoring was safe and brought about reduction in an average time of 21 minutes. We recommend this technique for the reduction of all cervical facet dislocations.
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