Neck Trauma, Penetrating, Anterior

Neck Trauma, Penetrating, Anterior is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Emergency Consult.

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  • Wound severity gauged by violation of platysma muscle
  • Neck is divided into 3 zones
    • Zone I: Between clavicles and cricoid cartilage
      • Involves vessels, lungs, trachea, esophagus, thyroid
      • Penetrating trauma in this zone carries highest mortality owing to injury to thoracic structures.
    • Zone II: Between cricoid cartilage and angle of mandible
      • Involves vessels, trachea, esophagus, C-spine, and spinal cord
      • Injuries are most common in this zone due to it being most exposed region.
    • Zone III lies above angle of mandible to base of skull
      • Injuries are difficult to access surgically

Pediatric Considerations
Larynx is located higher in neck and receives better protection from mandible and hyoid bone.


  • Gunshot wounds
  • Stab wounds
  • Miscellaneous (e.g., glass shards, metal fragments, animal bites)

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