A 58-year-old male patient presented to the emergency department with complaints of severe neck pain. He admitted to drug use but denied using intravenous (IV) drugs. On exam, he had a fever of 100.7°F, positive Kernig’s sign, and normal neurologic exam. The patient was suspected to have bacterial meningitis and was started on IV antibiotics. The next day the patient developed decreased hand grip. Magnetic resonance imaging of the spine the next day showed a soft-tissue mass impinging on the spinal canal. The patient was subsequently taken to the operating room where the epidural abscess was drained.
We present the case of a 31-year-old trauma patient with computed tomography concerning significant C3–C4 subluxation. The abnormality is due to an artifact with which emergency physicians should be aware.