Blunt assault: 'Million dollar baby'

Pantelis Hadjizacharia, Peter Rhee, Viraj Pandit, Hassan Aziz, Donald Green, Bellal Joseph

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Contrasting reports exist in the literature regarding the management of patients with blunt assault to the head, neck, and face and more importantly for clearing the cervical spine. The purpose of our study was to determine the risk of cervical spine injuries after blunt assault to the head, neck, and face and its association with other injuries. We performed a retrospective case review of all blunt assault trauma admissions to the head, neck, and face at our Level I trauma center.We identified all patients who were assaulted with hands and feet and blunt instruments. A total of 3286 patients with blunt assault to the head, neck, and face were identified of whom 11 (0.003%) were found to have a cervical spine fracture or cervical spine subluxation. None of the patients had a cervical spinal cord injury. The 11 patients composed our study population with a mean age of 39 6 7.8 years, 100 per cent were male, and the mean Injury Severity Scorewas 126 7.9. Five (45%) patients required surgery for stabilization of the cervical spine. Mortality was reported in only one patient who had a C7 transverse process fracture. Cervical spine injury after blunt assault is rare but does occur and encompasses significant injuries requiring surgical intervention. However, these injuries are the result of direct blows to the cervical spine and we suggest that assaulted patients with no direct trauma to the neck do not require an exhaustive evaluation of the cervical spine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)72-75
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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