Imaging of Cervical Spine Injuries of Childhood

Skeletal Radiol. 2007 Jun;36(6):477-94. doi: 10.1007/s00256-006-0223-0. Epub 2006 Oct 24.


Cervical spine injuries of children, though rare, have a high morbidity and mortality. The pediatric cervical spine is anatomically and biomechanically different from that of adults. Hence, the type, level and outcome of cervical spine injuries in children are different from those seen in adults. Normal developmental variants seen in children can make evaluation of the pediatric cervical spine challenging. This article reviews the epidemiology of pediatric cervical spine trauma, normal variants seen in children and specific injuries that are more common in the pediatric population. We also propose an evidence-based imaging protocol to avoid unnecessary imaging studies and minimize radiation exposure in children.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cervical Vertebrae / anatomy & histology
  • Cervical Vertebrae / injuries*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Diagnostic Imaging*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Spinal Injuries / diagnosis*