Postmortem radiology of head neck injuries in fatal traffic accidents

Radiology. 1975 Mar;114(3):611-7. doi: 10.1148/114.3.611.


A series of 146 victims of fatal traffic accidents were subjected to postmortem radiographic examination prior to medicolegal autopsy. A total of 42% were found to have radiographically demonstrable head injuries ranging from relatively simple linear skull fractures to massive skull damage. Free intracranial or intravascular air was demonstrated in more than 60%. A total of 21% had demonstrable neck injuries, most of which were localized to a single level at the craniocervical junction or the upper two cervical vertebrae. Flexion and extension studies of this area are of major importance in demonstrating the injury and locating potentially occult lesions for the forensic pathologist.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cervical Vertebrae / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cervical Vertebrae / injuries
  • Child, Preschool
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / diagnostic imaging*
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / mortality
  • Female
  • Forensic Medicine*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neck Injuries
  • Pneumocephalus / diagnostic imaging
  • Radiography
  • Skull Fractures / diagnostic imaging
  • Wounds and Injuries / mortality