Biomechanics, evaluation, and management of subaxial cervical spine injuries: A comprehensive review of the literature

Timothy Y. Wang, Vikram A. Mehta, Tara Dalton, Eric W. Sankey, C. Rory Goodwin, Isaac O. Karikari, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Khoi D. Than, Muhammad M. Abd-El-Barr

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Study design: Literature review. Objectives: It has been reported that 2.4–3.7% of all blunt trauma victims suffer some element of cervical spine fracture, with the majority of these patients suffering from C3-7 (subaxial) involvement. With the improvement of first-response to trauma in the community, there are an increasing number of patients who survive their initial trauma and thus arrive at the hospital in need of further evaluation, stabilization, and management of these injuries. Methods: A comprehensive literature review compiled all relevant data on the biomechanics, imaging, evaluation, and medical and surgical management strategies for subaxial cervical spine fractures. Results: After review of the current literature on subaxial cervical spine biomechanics, imaging characteristics, evaluation strategies and surgical and orthopedic management techniques, the authors created a comprehensive review and protocol for management of subaxial cervical spine fractures. Conclusions: The subaxial cervical spine is biomechanically and anatomically unique from the remainder of the spinal axis. Evaluation of subaxial cervical spine injuries is nuanced, and improper management of these injuries can lead to significant patient morbidity and even death. This provides a comprehensive review combining anatomy, imaging characteristics, evaluation strategies, and surgical and orthopedic management principles for subaxial cervical spine fractures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-139
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Neuroscience
Volume83
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2021

Keywords

  • Cervical spine
  • Evaluation
  • Fracture
  • Management
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)

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