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A new classification for cervical vertebral injuries: influence of CT

A new classification for cervical vertebral injuries: influence of CT

Skeletal Radiology 29(3): 125-132

Computed tomography (CT) has been demonstrated to be superior to radiography in identifying cervical vertebral injuries. However, many of these injuries may not be clinically significant, and require only minimal symptomatic and supportive treatment. It is therefore imperative that radiologists and spine surgeons have criteria for distinguishing between those injuries requiring surgical stabilization and those that do not. The authors propose a new classification of cervical vertebral injuries into two categories: major and minor. A data base, acquired on 1052 separate cervical injuries in 879 patients seen between 1983 and 1998, was reviewed. Four categories of injury based on mechanism [hyperflexion (four variants), hyperextension (two variants), rotary (two variants), and axial compression (five variants)] were identified. "Major" injuries are defined as having either radiographic or CT evidence of instability with or without associated localized or central neurologic findings, or have the potential to produce the latter. "Minor" injuries have no radiographic and/or CT evidence of instability, are not associated with neurologic findings, and have no potential to cause the latter. Cervical injury should be classified as "major" if the following radiographic and/or CT criteria are present: displacement of more than 2 mm in any plane, wide vertebral body in any plane, wide interspinous/interlaminar space, wide facet joints, disrupted posterior vertebral body line, wide disc space, vertebral burst, locked or perched facets (unilateral or bilateral), "hanged man" fracture of C2, dens fracture, and type III occipital condyle fracture. All other types of fractures may be considered "minor".

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Accession: 045079466

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 10794549

DOI: 10.1007/s002560050582

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