Cervical spine trauma

Author(s): Richard Pullicino, Mark Radon

Hospital: The Walton Centre

Reference: RAD Magazine, 42, 499, 21-22


Cervical spine injury is the second most common injury to the spine, comprising 28.6% of spinal injuries and 55% of spinal cord injuries. C2 is the most common fractured vertebra, accounting for 24% of injuries. However, despite measures to detect spinal injuries, delayed diagnosis or suboptimal treatment remain common, with 3-25% of patients developing neurological complications. C-spine injury is less common in children and requires a more cautious imaging strategy.

Computed tomography (CT) is currently the mainstay of imaging in adult cervical spine trauma. Radiography has a limited role due to a high inadequate study rate and poor sensitivity compared with CT (39-52% vs 98%).

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