As computed tomography (CT) technology has evolved, multidetector CT has become an integral part of the initial assessment of many injured patients, and the spine is easily included in the total body screening performed in patients with severe blunt polytrauma. Despite all the advantages of multidetector CT, clearing the spine in which injury is suspected continues to be a daily challenge in clinical practice. The purpose of this review is to present the evidence and the controversies surrounding the practice of imaging in patients suspected of having spine injury. The discussion is centered on the increasing reliance on multidetector CT in the work-up of these patients but also considers the important contributions of clinical trials to select patient for appropriate imaging on the basis of risk and probability of injury. Available protocols, injury classification systems, and issues awaiting future research are addressed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging