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AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2000 Jun;174(6):1617-9.

Radiography of cervical spine injury in children: are flexion-extension radiographs useful for acute trauma?

Author information

1
Children's Radiologic Institute, Children's Hospital of Columbus, OH 43205, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

We assessed the role of cervical spine flexion-extension radiographs in the acute evaluation of pediatric trauma patients.

MATERIAL AND METHODS:

We performed a retrospective review of all pediatric trauma patients who underwent static cervical spine radiography followed by flexion-extension radiography during a 22-month period. We reviewed the mechanism of injury, physical examination findings, and patient age, and tabulated the results of initial and follow-up imaging studies.

RESULTS:

Two hundred forty seven children (age range, 1.6-18 years; mean age, 11.5 years) with a history of trauma underwent cervical spine radiography followed by flexion-extension radiography. Static cervical spine radiographs revealed normal findings in 224 patients (91%). Flexion-extension radiographs revealed normal findings for all patients with normal findings on cervical spine radiographs. Of 23 children (9%) with abnormal findings on static cervical spine radiographs, seven (30%) had congenital abnormalities visible on flexion-extension radiographs; 10 (43%) had traumatic injuries including fracture, subluxation, or soft-tissue swelling; two (9%) had instability; and six (26%) had questionable abnormalities that were noted on static cervical spine radiographs. In four patients (66%) with abnormal findings on static cervical spine radiographs, flexion-extension radiographs were helpful in ruling out abnormality.

CONCLUSION:

In children with a history of trauma and normal findings on static cervical spine radiographs, additional flexion-extension radiographs are of questionable use.

PMID:
10845494
DOI:
10.2214/ajr.174.6.1741617
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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