Cervical spine injury complicating facial trauma: Incidence and management

Robert M. Merritt, Mark F. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Purpose: To review the impact of concomitant cervical spine injury on the management of facial fractures in a tertiary care institution via a retrospective chart review. Patients and Methods: Within the past 10 years, 1,750 consecutive patients presented to our institution with facial fractures. Thirty-two had concomitant cervical spine injury. Five were transferred or died before treatment. The remaining 27 charts were reviewed in detail. Results: The incidence of cervical spine injury among patients with facial fractures in our study was 1.8%. There were no treatment delays attributed to these injuries. Of note was the inaccuracy of lateral cervical spine films in 9 of 27 cases (33%). Conclusion: Although uncommon, cervical spine injury must be thoroughly ruled out before evaluation and management of facial trauma. Concomitant cervical spine injury should not delay appropriate and timely treatment of facial fractures because adequate means of intraoperative stabilization are readily available.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-238
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Medicine and Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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