MRI of car occupants with whiplash injury

F. Voyvodic, J. Dolinis, V. M. Moore, G. A. Ryan, J. P. Slavotinek, A. M. Whyte, R. D. Hoile, G. W. Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)


Our purpose was to document and investigate the prognostic significance of features seen on MRI of patients with whiplash injury following relatively minor road traffic crashes. MRI was obtained shortly and at 6 months after the crash using a 0.5 T imager. The images were assessed independently by two radiologists for evidence of fracture or other injury; loss of lordosis and spondylosis were also recorded. Clinical examinations were used to assess the status of patients initially and at 6 months. The results of the independent MRI and clinical investigations were then examined for association using statistical tests. Initial MRI was performed on 29 patients, of whom 19 had repeat studies at 6 months; 48 examinations were thus examined. Apart from spondylosis and loss of lordosis, only one abnormality was detected: an intramedullary lesion consistent with a small cyst or syrinx. There were no statistically significant associations between the outcome of injury and spondylosis or loss of lordosis. No significant changes were found when comparing the initial and follow-up MRI. It appears that MRI of patients with relatively less severe whiplash symptoms reveals a low frequency of abnormalities, apart from spondylosis and loss of lordosis, which have little short-term prognostic value. Routine investigation of such patients with MRI is not justified in view of the infrequency of abnormalities detected, the lack of prognostic value and the high cost of the procedure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-40
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Neck injuries
  • Whiplash, cervical spine


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