Do cervical spine X-rays for trauma have clinically significant incidental findings?

ד"ר ליאור קורן

מומחה לכירורגיה של היד ואורתופדיה

053-9956671
קביעת תור אתר הרופא
Objectives About 800,000 cervical X-rays for trauma are
taken every year in the USA. Those X-rays are reviewed by
orthopedic specialists in the emergency room (ER) for
traumatic findings. The quantity of incidental atraumatic
findings in this very prevalent examination is unknown. We
sought to determine the incidence of those findings.
Methods We retrospectively reviewed 521 consecutive
cervical X-rays of patients with a whiplash injury that
visited our ER from February to July 2010. X-rays that
were technically insufficient were excluded. This left 356
X-rays that met the inclusion criteria, which were analyzed
for incidental findings. The examinations were reviewed by
five staff radiologists for incidental findings. The findings
were reviewed and classified.
Results We identified incidental X-ray findings in 22 of
the 356 patients (6.2 %) who underwent X-ray of the cervical
spine during their visit to the ER. Stenosis with disk
narrowing was the most common finding (2.8 %), followed
by congenital anomaly of the cervical spine (2.2 %). Other
findings were enlarged sella turcica (0.6 %), carotid atherosclerosis
(0.3 %), and calcification of the stylomastoid
ligament (0.3 %). Older age was found to be a risk factor
for an incidental finding (p\0.0001).
Conclusion Incidental findings in the cervical spine were
associated with older age. Awareness of the prevalence of
incidental findings is important in order to ensure that they
are detected and managed appropriately
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