Evaluation of Cervical Spine Injuries

  • Ajay Malhotra
  • Ajai K. MalhotraEmail author
Trauma to the Neck (W Biffl, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Trauma to the Neck


Purpose of Review

Critically evaluate the current evidence in evaluation of the cervical spine following trauma.

Recent Findings

Little has changed in the evaluation of the cervical spine following penetrating trauma. Significant advances have been made in the evaluation following blunt trauma. Recent research has focused on evaluating the accuracy of recent generation-computed tomographic (CT) scanners in excluding (or identifying) significant cervical spine injury. Secondly, recent literature has evaluated the utility of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in the evaluation of the cervical spine injury following blunt trauma.


Current evidence supports (1) in an adult patient if a high-quality CT scan, interpreted by a trained neuro-radiologist, does not demonstrate any abnormal findings, significant cervical spine injury can be excluded and the collar safely removed; (2) MRI adds little to the evaluation if the CT scan is negative; and (3) MRI scan is helpful if a CT is equivocal or to plan therapy when the CT demonstrates injury.


Cervical spine Trauma Evaluation Imaging MRI 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest relevant to this manuscript.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Radiology and Biomedical ImagingYale University School of MedicineNew HavenUSA
  2. 2.Division of Acute Care Surgery, Department of Surgery, Larner College of MedicineLevel I Trauma Center, UVM Medical CenterBurlingtonUSA

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