Comprehensive Care

At MedStar Orthopaedic Institute, our experienced spine doctors perform thousands of surgeries each year, including surgery for neck fractures. We pride ourselves on offering the least invasive surgical options to allow you to recover quickly from surgery and return to your regular life as soon as possible. Our surgeons take the time to explain your unique condition and walk you through your treatment from beginning to end. Our spine specialists will always encourage non-surgical options when possible and recommend surgical options only when necessary.

What is a neck fracture?

Also known as a broken neck or a cervical fracture, it is a break in one or more of the bones found in the cervical (neck) portion of the spine. A fractured vertebrae in the neck is a very serious condition which can result in paralysis and even death. It is important to seek medical help immediately when a neck fracture is suspected and to prevent any movement after the injury to stop further complications.

What are the causes?

Fractures are usually caused by severe trauma to the neck, which could include:

  • Fall from a height
  • Automobile accident
  • Sudden blow to the head or neck
  • Sudden twist of the neck
  • Jumping head-first into shallow water

What are the symptoms?

It is important to seek emergency medical help immediately if you experience a sudden blow or fall that involves the neck or spine and any of the following signs:

  • Neck pain, which will vary in severity
  • Numbness in the arms or legs
  • Muscle weakness
  • Paralysis of the arms or legs
  • Swelling
  • Bruising

How is it diagnosed?

At the first signs of a neck injury, it is important to see a specialist. At MedStar Orthopaedic Institute, our spine surgeons have years of experience diagnosing and treating these conditions. Your exam will likely include the following:

  • Medical history evaluation – Your doctor will ask you about your past medical conditions and how the injury occurred.
  • Physical exam – Your doctor will evaluate your neck, checking for signs of paralysis.
  • Imaging tests – Your orthopedist will conduct imaging studies, which may include X-rays, MRI scans, or CT scans to analyze your bone injury and other internal structures.

What are the best treatment options?

There are a number of factors that will determine the treatment recommended by an orthopedic surgeon at MedStar Orthopaedic Institute, including the location and of the fracture and whether a spinal cord injury and/or paralysis has occurred. Some treatment options for fractures that are not severe may include:

  • Neck brace
  • Physical therapy


However, when neck fractures are severe, they may require more advanced treatment, including anterior cervical discectomy and fusion.


If you believe you may be suffering from a broken neck, call 202-295-0511 to schedule a consultation with one of our orthopedic spine specialists at MedStar Orthopaedic Institute. Our doctors have years of experience diagnosing and treating spinal conditions and are pleased to offer comprehensive spine care in the Washington, D.C. area.

Our Specialists

Neck & Spine

Joseph L. Ferguson, MD

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital
MedStar Orthopaedic Institute - Chevy Chase
MedStar Orthopaedic Institute - Lafayette Centre
Seyed Babak Kalantar, MD

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital
MedStar Orthopaedic Institute - Chevy Chase
MedStar Orthopaedic Institute – McLean
Fred Fei Mo, MD
Fred Fei Mo, MD
Spine Surgery

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital
MedStar Orthopaedic Institute - Chevy Chase
MedStar Orthopaedic Institute – McLean
Alan George Schreiber, MD

MedStar Orthopaedic Institute – Alexandria
MedStar Orthopaedic Institute – Brandywine
MedStar Orthopaedic Institute – Waldorf
Oliver O. Tannous, MD

MedStar Orthopaedic Institute – Mitchellville
MedStar Washington Hospital Center
James Edward Tozzi, MD

MedStar Washington Hospital Center
Sam W. Wiesel, MD
Sam W. Wiesel, MD
Spine Surgery

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital


3800 Reservoir Road Northwest Washington, DC, 20007
Phone: 202-444-8766
106 Irving Street Northwest, Washington, DC, 20010
Phone: 202-877-6000
1120 20th Street Northwest, Building 1 South Washington, DC, 20036
Phone: 202-416-2000
13950 Brandywine Road, 2nd Floor Brandywine, MD, 20613
Phone: 301-856-1682
5454 Wisconsin Avenue, 11th Floor Chevy Chase, MD, 20815
Phone: 301-215-9423
6355 Walker Lane, Suite 501 Alexandria, VA, 22310
Phone: 703-971-3701
9455 Lorton Market Street, Suite 200 Lorton, VA, 22079
Phone: 703-971-3701
6858 Old Dominion Drive, Suite 200 Mc Lean, VA, 22101
Phone: 202-444-8766
11325 Pembrooke Square, Suite 115 Waldorf, MD, 20603
Phone: 301-856-1682