The use of dynamic CT surview for cervical spine clearance in comatose trauma patients: A pilot prospective study

Yoram Anekstein*, Igor Jeroukhimov, Yaron Bar-Ziv, Ehud Shalmon, Nir Cohen, Yigal Mirovsky, Youssef Masharawi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Bedside flexion and extension fluoroscopy was proposed for detecting occult ligamentous instability in comatose trauma patients. Nevertheless, a recent study showed that the C7-T1 motion segment is rarely visualised by this technique. We propose a new method for clearing the cervical spine in comatose patients. Methods: We conducted a prospective clinical pilot study on 31 consecutive comatose trauma patients to evaluate a new dynamic imaging technique for cervical spine clearance in comatose trauma patients. All patients were examined by a fine-cut helical CT scan of the entire cervical spine (C-spine) and by four-stage flexion-extension examination using the surview function of the CT scanner. The mean range of motion between extension and full flexion, the lowest visualised vertebrae, complications, positive findings, and the time from arrival to clearance was recorded. Results: The mean range of motion of the subaxial cervical spine was 39°. The C7-T1 segment was fully visualised at the CT surview in 15 patients. The C6-C7 segment was visualised in all patients. No complication directly related to the study protocol was observed. C-spine clearance was completed in less than 6 h from arrival in 26 patients. Conclusion: The CT surview allows better visualisation of the C6-C7 and cervicothoracic junctions during flexion and extension. A short series of CT cuts can be used when visualisation is inadequate. Further studies are needed to assess the risks and benefits of the suggested protocol.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-346
Number of pages8
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2008


  • Cervical spine
  • Clearance
  • Computerized tomography
  • Flexion-extension
  • Surview


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