Spine trauma

John A. Carrino, Murray K. Dalinka

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Spine trauma is not uncommon and can have devastating consequences if misdiagnosed. Most injuries are secondary to blunt trauma (motor vehicle accidents, falls, sports injuries), although penetrating trauma accounts for a substantial minority of cases. Spinal fractures represent 3-6% of all skeletal injuries. Spinal injuries can produce a neurologic deficit, sometimes severe or fatal. Spine trauma is a complex diagnostic area in which the imaging assessment is crucial. The overall goal of initial spine imaging is to detect potentially unstable fractures, to enable immobilization and/or stabilization, and prevent development and/or progression of neurological injury. Spinal injury can be divided into the segment of the spine that is affected: craniocervical, subaxial cervical or thoracolumbar. Injuries within these regions of the spine can be further subdivided based upon the mechanism of injury. Imaging examinations may be performed to inform prognosis and guide surgical intervention, particularly for unstable injuries. Radiography, computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance (MR) imaging are all applied to the traumatized patient depending on the circumstance. Pediatric and geriatric populations have some unique considerations. Underlying musculoskeletal disorders such as spondyloarthropathy or osteoporosis can affect the nature and pattern of spinal injuries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMusculoskeletal Diseases 2013-2016
Subtitle of host publicationDiagnostic Imaging and Interventional Techniques
PublisherSpringer-Verlag Milan
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9788847052925
ISBN (Print)9788847052918
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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