[Neck injuries]

Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 1992 Apr 10;112(10):1287-9.
[Article in Norwegian]


Diagnostic work-up of neck injuries is dependent on vital signs, neurologic status and location of the wound. Patients who are haemodynamically unstable, who exhibit current arterial bleeding, expanding or pulsatile haematoma or respiratory distress after initial resuscitation are taken to the operating theatre without further delay. Patients who present stable vital signs or who are stable after resuscitation are subjected to further evaluation. Penetrating wounds below the cricothyroid membrane (zone I) and just below the clavicle and above the mandibular angle (zone III) are subjected to angiography. Explorations in these regions are associated with considerable morbidity and routine exploration is not warranted. Injuries between the cricothyroid membrane and mandibular angle are easily reached, and routine exploration is recommended. Selective diagnostic work-up with angiography, oesophagography and laryngotracheobronchoscopy is an alternative if available on a 24 hour basis. The common and internal carotid arteries are repaired in patients with focal or no neurologic deficit, and in patients with equivocal neurologic status secondary to hypoperfusion or intoxication. Ligation is performed if reconstruction is not feasible. Appropriate treatment of the comatose patient remains controversial. Oesophageal and tracheal injuries are primarily repaired.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Emergencies
  • Humans
  • Neck / blood supply
  • Neck / surgery
  • Neck Injuries*
  • Resuscitation
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / diagnosis
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / surgery
  • Wounds, Penetrating / diagnosis
  • Wounds, Penetrating / surgery