Cervical Spine Trauma in Children: A Review

Todd Mccall, MD; Dan Fassett, MD; Douglas Brockmeyer, MD


Neurosurg Focus. 2006;20(2):E5 

In This Article


Management of cervical spine trauma in children has several important differences compared with adults. The unique biomechanics of the pediatric cervical spine lead to a distinct distribution of injuries, with younger children more likely to incur upper cervical injuries and SCIWORA. Radiographic studies can also be misleading in children, with normal features such as pseudosubluxation and synchondrosis being easily mistaken for pathological findings.

Treatment of cervical spine injuries can be divided into external immobilization and surgical intervention. External immobilization with a halo device has a high incidence of complications and can be difficult because of a thin calvaria. Surgical options have improved in recent years with the development of instrumentation specifically designed for children, but special consideration must be given to the small size and growth potential of the pediatric spine.


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