Head injury and facial injury: is there an increased risk of cervical spine injury?

J Trauma. 1993 Apr;34(4):549-53; discussion 553-4.


A series of 8285 blunt trauma victims from one hospital were analyzed to establish the possible association of cervical spine injuries with craniocerebral and facial injuries. Patients with clinically significant head injuries were at greater risk of cervical spine injuries than those without head trauma (4.5% vs. 1.1%, significant by Chi-squared analysis). Patients with Glasgow Coma Scale scores of 8 or less were at even greater risk of cervical spine injuries (7.8%). Facial injuries were not associated with cervical spine injuries. Procedures to achieve airway control in patients with serious head injuries must reflect these findings so that protection is afforded to the cervical spine during trauma resuscitation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abbreviated Injury Scale
  • Adult
  • Cervical Vertebrae / injuries*
  • Craniocerebral Trauma* / therapy
  • Facial Injuries* / therapy
  • Female
  • Glasgow Coma Scale
  • Humans
  • Intubation, Intratracheal / adverse effects
  • Male
  • Multiple Trauma / etiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / epidemiology
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / etiology
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / complications