Imaging with computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging is fundamental to the evaluation of traumatic spinal injury. Specifically, neuroradiologic techniques show the exact location of injury, evaluate the stability of the spine, and determine neural element compromise. This review focuses on the complementary role of different radiologic modalities in the diagnosis of patients with traumatic injuries of the spine. The role of imaging in spinal trauma classifications will be addressed. The importance of magnetic resonance imaging in the assessment of soft tissue injury, particularly of the spinal cord, will be discussed. Last, the increasing role of advanced imaging techniques for prognostication of the traumatic spine will be explored.
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