CT of the cervical spine is the test of choice for evaluating for cervical spine fractures.
Cervical spine x rays are much less sensitive. When used, AP, lateral, and open mouth views are obtained.
- C1 and C2 are often difficult to visualize and even more difficult when the cervical collar is left in place.
- Prevertebral soft tissue swelling (>10 mm at C1 or C2) on the lateral view may be the only finding sometimes. However up to 20% of those with C2 fractures stilldo not manifest this.
- The open mouth view, when done properly, gives the best view of the dens.