Advertisement

Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Factors affecting the thickness of the cervical prevertebral soft tissues

Abstract

Lateral cervical spine films of 227 patients examined over 2 years were analyzed to determine the thickness of the soft tissues anterior to C2 through C4. These measurements were correlated with patient age, sex, weight, shoulder width, neck width, and calculated radiographie magnification. We found that only patient weight and age had any statistically significant effect on the soft tissue thickness. A stepwise regression model produced a simple equation for predicting the mean value of the soft tissue thickness (specifically at C3) using the patient's age and weight: C3 width = 3.7 mm −0.02 × age (years) + 0.01 × weight (pounds). Using this formula we determined that weight and age account for 28% of the observed variability in the soft tissue measurements at C3. These relationships were similar at C2 and C4. Interestingly, patient sex and radiographie magnification had no detectable effect on the measured widths.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. 1.

    Clark WM, Gehweiler JA Jr, Laib R (1979) Twelve significant signs of cervical spine trauma. Skeletal Radiol 3:201

  2. 2.

    Edeiken-Monroe B, Wagner LK, Harris JH Jr (1986) Hyperextension dislocation of the cervical spine. AJR 7:135

  3. 3.

    Elliott JM Jr, Rogers LF, Wissinger JP, Lee JF (1972) The hangman's fracture. Fractures of the neural arch of the axis. Radiology 104:303

  4. 4.

    Gopalakrishnan KC, Masri WE (1986) Prevertebral soft tissue shadow widening — an important sign of cervical spinal injury. Injury 17:125

  5. 5.

    Harris JH Jr, Yeakley JS (1989) Radiographically subtle soft tissue injuries of the cervical spine. Curr Probl Diagn Radiol 18:161

  6. 6.

    Lusted LB, Keats TE (1985) Atlas of radiographic measurements, 5th edn. Year Book Medical, Chicago, p 56

  7. 7.

    Martinez JA, Timberlake GA, Jones JC, Martinez R, Lessor SR, McDille PW, McSwain NE Jr (1988) Factors affecting the cervical prevertebral space in the trauma patient. Am J Emerg Med 6:268

  8. 8.

    Oon CY (1964) Some sagittal measurements of the neck in normal adults. Br J Radiol 37:674

  9. 9.

    Penning L (1981) Prevertebral hematoma in cervical spine injury: incidence and etiologic significance. AJR 136:553

  10. 10.

    Scher AT (1980) The value of retropharyngeal swelling in the diagnosis of fractures of the atlas. S Afr Med J 58:451

  11. 11.

    Templeton PA, Young JWR, Mirvis SE, Buddemeyer EU (1987) The value of retropharyngeal soft tissue measurements in trauma of the adult cervical spine. Skeletal Radiol 16:98

  12. 12.

    Weir DC (1975) Roentgenographic signs of cervical injury. Clin Orthop 109:9

  13. 13.

    Wholey MH, Bruwer AJ, Baker HL Jr (1958) The lateral roentgenogram of the neck. Radiology 77:350

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to C. L. Sistrom M.D..

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Sistrom, C.L., Southall, E.P., Peddada, S.D. et al. Factors affecting the thickness of the cervical prevertebral soft tissues. Skeletal Radiol. 22, 167–171 (1993). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00206147

Download citation

Key words

  • Cervical spine radiographs
  • Soft tissue prevertebral