Blunt Trauma and CT Reconstructions of the Spine
The spine is a commonly injured area of the body in blunt trauma from falls, motor vehichle accidents, and sporting accidents. These injuries are associated with spinal cord injuries. All states have regulations governing how the emergency medical technicians handle patients to prevent a spine fracture or dislocation from causing or worsening a neurological injury.
Once the EMT’s get the patient to the trauma center, all patients are evaluated for the likelihood of a spine injury. In order to rule this out, almost all trauma centers and many emergency rooms use the new generation of CT (computed tomography) scanners that can quickly scan the patient and give a 3-dimensional view of the entire spine, including the cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and sacral portions. In the vernacular of the trauma business these radiology studies are called the “C, T, and L spine recons” and they are much better at picking up small fractures and injuries than the old plain x-rays that were taken until a few years ago.
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