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Neck brace to Stabilize the Neck after Trauma Can be Harmful, study shows

Posted Feb 15 2010 12:00am

You may think that after a car accident or slip and fall where you have injured your neck, the next course of action maybe to wear a cervical collar. Not so, shows a recent January article published in the Journal Trauma. In fact, wearing a cervical collar after an accident can cause more harm than good.

In fact, the application of a neck brace after a trauma is standard procedure, and has been for many years. Houston researchers have shown that a cervical collar can worsen the injury and lead to severe paralysis or death.

Baylor College of Medicine doctors used cadavers to confirm that so-called cervical collars can be counterproductive, a finding that could upturn the way emergency medical personnel and doctors act to stabilize and protect the upper spine in potentially fatal neck injuries, such as those that commonly occur in bad automobile accidents.

According to the lead author, Dr. Peleg Ben-Galim, a professor of orthopedic surgery,  "This study is a proof of concept that in cases of severely unstable neck injuries, cervical collars are not only not helpful, but harmful in many situations," He further states that  "More research needs to be done, but it might be that we can prevent some of the deaths and quadriplegia that occur in these injuries."

Dr. David Persse, medical director of Houston's Emergency Management Services, called the study "compelling" and "concerning" and said it will come up for discussion at the annual meeting of the nation's 30 largest EMS departments in Dallas next month. But he also said he doesn't want to overreact.


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Baylor study doubts neck brace standard

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