01.12.2013 | Review Article
Special considerations in the interpretation of plain radiographs of the cervical spine in children. A review of the literature
C. Schöneberg, B. Schweiger, S. Lendemans, C. Waydhas
European Journal of Trauma and Emergency Surgery
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This review provides an overview of the special considerations with regard to correct diagnosis of plain radiographs of the pediatric cervical spine. Injuries to the cervical spine are rare in children. The leading trauma mechanism is motor vehicle injury. Plain radiographs are a common tool in the search for a diagnosis. Taking the growth process into account there are many differences to be found compared to the adult c-spine. Knowledge of these differences is important when working towards the correct interpretation of plain radiographs of the pediatric c-spine.
To create this review, a literature search of the electronic databases Cochrane, PubMed/MEDLINE and Embase was conducted.
Special considerations of plain radiographs of the pediatric c-spine are presented. Biomechanical and embryology specifics have been a focus of this review. They are explained relating on the development of the c-spine. The known auxiliary lines used in the interpreting of the pediatric c-spine are reported. A selection of these auxiliary lines is shown.
Knowledge of the c-spines characteristics is of major importance for every physician involved in pediatric trauma care. This could lead to not only avoiding misdiagnosis but could also lead to avoiding the overuse of computed tomography of the pediatric c-spine.