The three radiographs that should generally be obtained for patients with multiple trauma are lateral cervical spine, anteroposterior chest, and anteroposterior pelvis. These films can be taken in the resuscitation area with a portable X-ray unit, but should not interrupt the resuscitation process. After all life-threatening injuries have been identified and treated, complete cervical spine, thoracic, and lumbar spine films can be obtained as needed. In the patient with penetrating truncal injuries, films pertinent to the site(s) of wounding should be obtained, if patient condition allows.

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