Major cervical spine injuries in children and adolescents

J Pediatr Orthop. Nov-Dec 1998;18(6):811-4.


A population-based study of pediatric cervical spine trauma in the Auckland region over 7 years starting in March 1989 identified 32 patients younger than 15 years of age who sustained a fracture, dislocation, or major ligamentous injury including SCIWORA (spinal cord injury without radiographic abnormality). Thirty-one percent had associated injuries and 53% had abnormal neurologic findings on presentation. Children younger than 10 years of age with cervical spine trauma more commonly sustained the injury in a motor vehicle accident and had a preponderance of injuries of the upper cervical spine. Children 10 years of age or older were more often injured during sport or recreational activity and the injuries followed a more typically adult pattern. Treatment included closed reduction in two patients and posterior open reduction and stabilization in eight patients (25%) with one of these also requiring decompression. All patients treated surgically had a very satisfactory outcome.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cervical Vertebrae / diagnostic imaging
  • Cervical Vertebrae / injuries*
  • Cervical Vertebrae / surgery
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Spinal Fusion
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed