Traumatic Neck Injuries

Rathnayaka M.Kalpanee D. Gunasingha, Mark W. Bowyer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The neck contains critical aerodigestive and neurovascular structures, and damage from penetrating or blunt trauma causes high morbidity and mortality. Understanding the anatomic relationship of the structures within the neck aides in determining what injuries might be present as well as the possible surgical approach. The anatomy of the neck can be divided into anterior and posterior triangles as well as Zones 1 through 3. The zones of the neck are extremely helpful in determining management and treatment decisions. Laryngotracheal, esophageal, vascular, and cervical spine injuries are possible from both penetrating and blunt trauma. A stable patient with neck trauma should undergo a full physical exam as well as computed tomography imaging to determine if surgical intervention is necessary. Endoscopic procedures can aid in diagnosis. An unstable patient with neck trauma, after the initial trauma evaluation, should be further explored in the operating room. While neck trauma is uncommon, it carries one of the highest mortalities. Patients can also develop long-term complications and regular follow-up with someone aware of their injury history is important.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTextbook of Emergency General Surgery
Subtitle of host publicationTraumatic and Non-traumatic Surgical Emergencies
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9783031225994
ISBN (Print)9783031225987
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Aerodigestive injury
  • Blunt cerebrovascular injury
  • Neck trauma


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