Follow-up for Cervical Spine Trauma in Children

Frequency of Office Visits

  • Early review: Early initial review within 2 weeks of discharge is indicated to ensure satisfactory healing of surgical site, appropriate clinical progress (return to mobility, reducing analgesia requirements), and compliance with prescribed orthotics.
  • Late review: Subsequent visits will depend on the nature of the injury but will typically involve review at 1 month and 3 months to ensure the review of follow-up radiology, assessment of bone graft incorporation/fusion, and a return to normal function.

Frequency of Imaging

  • Typically at 1 and 3 months after injury: The frequency and modality of follow-up imaging will vary according to the precise injury. Imaging at 1 month and 3 months will suffice in most instances. Follow-up imaging is required to insure the incorporation/fusion of bone graft and the adequacy of internal fixation (check for lucency around screws, displacement of metal work, and screw/rod breakages and appropriate spinal alignment and stability).
  • Long-term  follow-up recommended for young children: In young children, a long-term follow-up visit (1–2 years) can be beneficial in selected patients to look for late complications such as adjacent-level disease or new spinal deformity.

Other Investigations Required

No additional investigations are required.