Procedure

Cervical Fracture Treatment- Orthopedics

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Cervical fracture occurs when a force breaks the cervical bones. It is likely to occur following a motor vehicle accident or fall. The condition may be life threatening if the injury affects the spinal cord.

Nonetheless, if the patient has no neurological symptoms, for example, numbness, weakness, fainting, spinal involvement is unlikely. 

Before your doctor decides to perform a surgery or initiate other treatments, they should first confirm the diagnosis of cervical fracture. Besides, it is also necessary to locate the site of injury and identify the severity of the injury.

For this purpose, they can order imaging tests such as MRI and CT scan.

CT Scan

Computed tomography scan uses X-rays and computer processing to create detailed images of the bones in the affected area. Unlike plain X-ray, the CT scan creates images from different angles. Thus, it is more useful than plain X-ray in detecting a cervical fracture.

For the same reason, the doctor may order CT scan even when plain X-ray shows no evidence of injury while the symptoms suggest an injury.

Besides, the doctor may use the latest CT technique called Multidetector-row CT (MDCT). MDCT allows for high-resolution images and further simplifies the diagnostic procedure.

MRI

Magnetic resonance imaging uses a powerful magnet, radio waves, and a computer. It can be used as a complementary diagnostic tool for cervical fracture in addition to CT scan.

Most notably, MRI helps identify the site of injury and provides information for its management.

Cervical Fracture Treatment: Things to Know

If the fracture has occurred in the bones closer to the skull, using a rigid cervical collar is the first option. If the ligaments connecting the base of the skull to the cervical vertebra is intact (as seen on MRI), the doctor may recommend using a halo crown. A halo crown stabilizes the cervical spine.

Surgery may be necessary if the injury affects the spinal cord. Besides, a type of steroid drug called methylprednisolone, within the first eight hours after the injury, may be used to minimize spinal cord injury.

Sources:

  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2899718/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK448129/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3812556/
  • https://www.aafp.org/afp/1999/0115/p331.html
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3445174/
About the Author:
Shailesh Sharma is a registered pharmacist and medical content writer from Nepal. He enjoys digging into latest findings of research and strongly believes in evidence-based health information. He graduated from Pokhara University School of Health and Allied Sciences and was engaged in clinical pharmacy and academia in various regions of Nepal for almost 9 years. Shailesh also serves as Project Manager of Graduate Pharmacists’ Association, Nepal (GPAN).
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