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Cervical spine injuries to children under 11: should we use radiography more selectively in their initial assessment?
  1. P J E Smart1,
  2. P J Hardy2,
  3. D M G Buckley1,
  4. J M Somers1,
  5. N J Broderick1,
  6. K E Halliday1,
  7. L Williams2
  1. 1Diagnostic Imaging Directorate, Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham, UK
  2. 2Accident and Emergency Directorate, Queen’s Medical Centre
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr P J E Smart, Diagnostic Imaging Directorate, Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham NG7 2UH, UK; 


Objectives: To assess the effectiveness of cervical spine radiography in injured children under 11 years old, and suggest improvements.

Methods: Retrospective survey of radiographs and accident and emergency records for children examined during a one year period in a large teaching hospital.

Results: No cervical spine fractures occurred in this age group during the year. The recorded clinical findings did not always justify radiography.

Conclusions: Clinical examination appears undervalued by those assessing injured children and is poorly recorded. Radiography can be used more selectively. Initial assessment using a single lateral projection can be followed in doubtful cases by cross sectional imaging.

  • cervical vertebrae
  • injuries
  • radiography
  • child
  • retrospective study

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  • Funding: none.

  • Conflicts of interest: none.