What is the significance of the prevertebral soft tissue shadow distance

Increased thickness of the prevertebral soft tissue space may be a tip-off to the presence of a significant soft tissue injury to the bony or ligamentous structures of the anterior cervical spine. This finding is less reliable in infants and children because of the wide normal variation in the pediatric population. The normal prevertebral soft tissue shadow distance in adults is 7 mm at C2 and 22 mm at the C6 vertebral level. In general, prevertebral soft tissue thickness should not exceed 50% of the sagittal diameter of the vertebral body at the same level.

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