Computed tomography (CT) imaging is fast, sensitive, easily available in most ERs, and allows full monitoring with standard equipment. For these reasons, it is the primary modality used in the setting of acute trauma. An urgent CT scan of the head, including 'brain', 'bone' and 'blood' algorithms, is mandatory in any patient with suspected head injury. Because of the greater risk of cranio-cervical instability
in preadolescent children, imaging should extend to the C2-3 disc space in these patients. (For features of traumatic lesions seen on CT scans, see Chapter 2).
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