During a 7-year period, a consecutive retrospective series of 89 trauma patients at a Level One trauma center who had negative standard radiographs with suspected occult cervical injury were administered a cervical magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. The MRI studies were fully able to assess the ligamentous status of the cervical spine in all patients and were the final step in determining the treatment of the spine. Of the total 89 patients, 82 had no ligamentous injury, and 7 had ligamentous injury. Two patients underwent surgery because of the findings on the MRI study. MRI studies of patients with negative standard radiographs but with suspected occult cervical injury are excellent and safe studies for the evaluation of cervical spinal stability because of their ability to detect ligamentous injuries that are not evident on plain radiographs.
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
Received February 2, 2000; accepted January 18, 2001.
Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. J. C. Wang, UCLA Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, UCLA School of Medicine, Box 956902, Los Angeles, CA 90095–6902, U.S.A. E-mail: email@example.com
Presented at the Cervical Spine Research Society, Atlanta, Georgia, December 1998.