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Semirigid cervical spine collar and risk of missing significant soft tissue injuries
  1. Mohammed Hassan Hussain1 and
  2. Kenneth Corsar2
  1. 1 Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Leeds General Infirmary, Leeds, UK
  2. 2 Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Pinderfields Hospital, Wakefield, UK
  1. Correspondence to Mohammed Hassan Hussain, mohammed.hussain{at}


We report the case of an initial misdiagnosis of significant scalp soft tissue hidden beneath a semirigid cervical collar. A 16-year-old unrestrained rear seat passenger was involved in an RTA sustaining a subdural haematoma, cervical spine fractures and what was initially diagnosed as a significant degloving scalp injury. The patient was admitted to the intensive care unit intubated sedated, and with a cervical collar. The scalp injury was dressed with a view that potential reconstructive surgery would be needed subsequently.

This case demonstrates that while cervical collars remain a fundamental aspect of initial prehospital care in trauma, they have potential drawbacks to their use, which need to be carefully noted. Some of these drawbacks have been reported extensively in the literature. This case outlines the necessity of a thorough secondary survey in the trauma patient as the cervical collar can obscure the assessment of significant head and neck soft tissue injuries.

  • oral and maxillofacial surgery
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  • Contributors Case report was written and literature review was performed by MHH, corresponding author. Case report was reviewed with suggestions by supervising author KC.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.

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