Head and Spine Trauma

Head trauma can occur in children from a variety of injuries; the most common include falls, automobile accidents, bicycle accidents, sports injuries, and child abuse (abusive head trauma or Shaken Baby Syndrome). The brain may be injured directly from an impact, indirectly from swelling or changes in blood flow, or from bleeding (hemorrhage) inside of the skull. Surgical treatments may include repair of depressed skull fractures, removal of blood clots within the head, or inserting a monitor to measure the pressure in the head (intracranial pressure monitoring).

The spine and spinal cord may also be injured in trauma, although this is much less common in children than it is in adults. However, children, because of their immature spine anatomy, may have unique injuries that do not commonly occur in adults, and the effects of the injuries and treatments on the growing spine must be taken into account. Children rarely become paralyzed from spinal cord injury. Treatments may include stabilization of the spine with an external brace, or surgery to fuse the spine.