Cervical spine trauma in children and adults: perioperative considerations.
A wide spectrum of cervical spine injuries, including stable and unstable injuries with and without neurologic compromise, account for a large percentage of emergency department visits. Effective treatment of the polytrauma patient with cervical spine injury requires knowledge of cervical spine anatomy and the pathophysiology of spinal cord injury, as well as techniques for cervical spine stabilization, intraoperative positioning, and airway management. The orthopaedic surgeon must oversee patient care and coordinate treatment with emergency department physicians and anesthesia services in both the acute and subacute settings. Children are particularly susceptible to substantial destabilizing cervical injuries and must be treated with a high degree of caution. The surgeon must understand the unique anatomic and biomechanical properties associated with the pediatric cervical spine as well as injury patterns and stabilization techniques specific to this patient population.
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