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Implications for practice

All young children with suspected abuse should be fully examined for possible spinal injury 1


Where skeletal survey is being performed (in children aged less than two years), this must include AP and lateral spinal images 1, although spinal ligamentous injury may be missed on plain film, thus MRI should be considered if spinal injury is suspected


Where an infant is being investigated for abusive head trauma, consideration should be given to magnetic resonance imaging of the spine 1, as ligamentous injuries may be missed on plain film. The addition of STIR sequences maybe of value in identifying cervical ligament injuries associated with abusive head trauma (Choudhary)

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  1. Standards for radiological investigations of suspected non-accidental injury. (2008) The Royal College of Radiologists/The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health


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