Purpose: In pediatric patients with craniomaxillofacial (CMF) trauma, evaluation for cervical spine injury (CSI) is critical, but there are no studies investigating CSI in this unique population. The aim of this study was to measure the frequency of CSI in the pediatric CMF fracture population. Materials and Methods: A retrospective cohort study of all pediatric patients who presented to the Johns Hopkins Hospital Emergency Department (Baltimore, MD) with CMF fractures were examined for concurrent CSIs. Patient charts were reviewed for mechanism of injury, type and level of CSI, type and location of CMF fracture patterns, and overall outcome. Data were analyzed for correlation and statistical relevance. Results: A total of 2,966 pediatric patients (1,897 boys [64.0%]; age range, 0 to 15 yr; average age, 7 ± 4.73 yr) were identified from 1990 to 2010 to have CMF fractures. Of these patients, only 5 children were found to have concomitant CSIs (frequency, 0.169%). The frequency of CSI in patients with CMF fracture and deciduous, mixed, and permanent dentition was 0, 0.307, and 0.441%, respectively. Of the 5 identified cases, 4 had concomitant middle-third facial skeletal fracture, 4 had concomitant upper-third cranial skeletal fracture, and 2 had concomitant lower-third cranial skeletal fracture. Conclusion: CSIs in pediatric patients with CMF fracture are rare (frequency, 0.169%); this is considerably lower than the reported ranges in adults (3.69 to 24%). No child with deciduous dentition was found to have a CSI. The lack of CSI in deciduous patients with CMF fracture could be explained by the anatomic differences between pediatric and adult cervical spines and supports conservative imaging for children in this age group (level of evidence, III).
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Oral Surgery