Infantile cervical ligament edema

Infantile cervical ligament edema can typically be seen when infants have suffered accidental or abusive head and neck trauma. The finding is best seen on sagittal STIR images.

The posterior ligamentous complex refers to the ligamentum flavum and interspinous ligaments. The anterior and posterior longitudinal ligaments, ligamentum flavum, and apical ligament are all seen on cervical MR studies.

The infant will undergo neck imaging as part of a trauma evaluation.

In a group of homicide victims who were children under the age of 2 years, 21% of those who had spinal cord injuries had cervical ligamentous injury as well 1.

  • STIR: ligaments are hyperintense

The ligamentous injury is not treated in isolation. If there is brainspinal cord or spine injury, these are treated accordingly.

Neck MRI is indicated in severe infantile head and neck injury. It is debatable whether ligamentous neck injury is suggestive of non-accidental injury 2-4.

Article information

rID: 54058
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: normal cervical ligament MRI
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  • Case 2: cervical ligamentous edema
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