George Quentin Chance (1904 – -) was an Irish radiologist. He first described the eponymously termed Chance fracture in 1948

  • Born on September 20, 1904 in South Dublin, Ireland
  • 1928 – MB BCh BAO, Trinity College Dublin
  • House surgeon, Worcester General Infirmary
  • House surgeon, Salford Royal Hospital
  • 1938 – DMRE (Diploma in Medical Radiology), University of Cambridge
  • Senior assistant medical officer, Sheffield Radium Center
  • Member British Institute of Radiology and Fracture Radiologists
  • Consultant Radiologist at Manchester Municipal Hospital
  • 1947 – Director of Diagnostic Radiology, Derbyshire Royal Infirmary, Derby
  • Honorary fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
  • Died

Medical Eponyms
Chance fracture (1948)

The Chance fracture is a transverse fracture through a vertebral body and neural arch. These injuries typically occur at the thoracolumbar junction or in the upper lumbar spine. When the anterior ligaments are also injured, this injury may be a fracture-dislocation, carrying a higher incidence of neurological injury. With these fractures, one must always be alert to the high likelihood of injury to the bowel and other abdominal viscera.

in 1948, Chance published a Note on a type of Flexion Fracture of the Spine in the British Journal of Radiology. Initially he described a purely osseous injury in his case series of three patients.

Chance fracture GQ chance 1948 AP
Fig 1. AP spine. Chance, 1948

The fracture which I illustrate is a true flexion fracture, though of a rarer type. It consists of a horizontal splitting of the spine and neural arch, ending in an upward curve which usually reaches the upper surface of the body just in front of the neural foramen.

In my three cases there has been very little wedging of the vertebral body, no dislocation of the apophyseal joints, nor has there been any cord damage…As there is no major ligamentous damage, the upper half of the fractured neural arch is firmly fixed to the normal arch of the vertebra above, and similarly the lower half is fixed to the vertebra below. The outline of these halves, in a horizontal plane, is therefore still undisturbed, so that a simple hyperextension of the spine must inevitably bring the two halves into perfect anatomical apposition, and give a near 100 per cent, prognosis.

Chance fracture GQ chance 1948 lateral
Fig 2. Lateral spine. Chance, 1948

Major Publications



Eponymous terms

BA MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM. Emergency physician, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.  Passion for rugby; medical history; medical education; and asynchronous learning #FOAMed evangelist. Co-founder and CTO of Life in the Fast lane | Eponyms | Books | Twitter |

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