Cervical Spine MRI in Alert, Neurologically Intact Trauma Patients

PGY1 PGY2 PGY3 PGY4 Trauma

Probably  you had this dilemma before. Patient involved  MVC with midline neck tenderness and negative CT scan. Now, what should I do? Should I clear and remove c-collar or consult with trauma.  There are 2 approaches that trauma surgeons usually do. 1:MRI and/or 2: Flex-ex xray.

There were not too many EBM studies in ED to support these approaches and it is usually based on expert opinion. annals of emergency medicine published an article Dec, 2011 regarding this topic. Please note that the study was done in  in acute, alert, neurologically intact trauma patients with computed tomography (CT) imaging negative for acute injury and persistent midline cervical spine tenderness.

44% of patients  had acute cervical spine injuries detected on MRI. Of these patients, 62% had a single-column injury (n=48), 19% had two-column injuries (n=15), and 6%
had three-column injuries (n=5). Of the remaining 10 patients, 6 had isolated posterior muscle edema, 2 had alar ligamentous edema, 1 had epidural hematoma, and 1 had atlanto occipital edema.

Cervical Spine Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Alert, Neurologically Intact Trauma Patients

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