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Pearls for Interpreting Computed Tomography of the Cervical Spine in Trauma.

The high morbidity and mortality associated with cervical spine injuries makes identification and classification essential. It is important to have a systematic approach to evaluation, especially in the trauma setting with other distracting injuries. Understanding the anatomy and biomechanics enables rapid and accurate interpretation of images. In severe trauma and in patients with rigid spinal disease, the classic patterns of injury may be difficult or impossible to recognize. This article provides an approach to acquiring and interpreting cervical spine images in the setting of acute trauma and reviews the classic patterns of injury.

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