Penetrating neck trauma

Emerg Med Clin North Am. 1998 Feb;16(1):85-105. doi: 10.1016/s0733-8627(05)70350-3.


Penetrating neck trauma can pose significant diagnostic and therapeutic challenges for emergency physicians. Factors contributing to these problems are complex anatomy, proximity of vital structures, and potential for rapid deterioration of airway, vascular, or neurologic injuries. Other contributing factors are the lack of consensus in the literature regarding appropriate evaluation and management of penetrating neck injuries, and insufficient resources or experienced personnel at some institutions. This review focuses on the key components of the history and physical examinations that allow for an assessment of the severity and type of structures involved. In addition, current methods of airway management, as well as ways to manage penetrating neck trauma efficiently and cost effectively, are discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Airway Obstruction / etiology
  • Algorithms
  • Decision Trees
  • Emergency Treatment / methods*
  • Humans
  • Medical History Taking
  • Neck Injuries / complications
  • Neck Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Neck Injuries / therapy*
  • Physical Examination
  • Wounds, Penetrating / complications
  • Wounds, Penetrating / diagnosis*
  • Wounds, Penetrating / therapy*