Comprehensive Care for Complex Injuries

Pediatric head and spine trauma are caused by an injury or accident that damages your brain, spinal cord or both. The severity of pediatric head and spine trauma ranges from a mild concussion to severe spinal cord or brain injuries that require surgery and extensive rehabilitation for the best results.

Head and spine trauma can result from several factors, but they are often caused by sudden impact, falls, car crashes or sports injuries.

Symptoms, Diagnosis and Outlook

The symptoms of pediatric head and spine trauma vary widely according to their type and severity.

Common symptoms include:

  • Confusion, both immediately after the injury or hours later
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Trouble walking, talking or forming a complete thought
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of movement or sensation
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control
  • Pain or pressure in your neck, head or back

Diagnosis of pediatric head and spine trauma at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital is made by a multidisciplinary team of pediatric trauma specialists with a wide range of expertise. Depending on the type and severity of the injury.

Testing may include:

  • Blood tests and urinalysis
  • X-rays
  • CT scan
  • Observation and monitoring
  • Neurological testing

Pediatric head and spine trauma includes many conditions that can be serious or even life-threatening. Immediate treatment from a team of trained professionals offers the best potential for healing.

Our Experts in Care

The team of pediatric head and trauma specialists at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital provides comprehensive, multidisciplinary care for children and adolescents with complex brain and spine injuries to speed healing and protect their quality of life.

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Why Choose Penn State Health Children’s Hospital for Care

Level 1 Trauma Center

Penn State Health Children's Hospital Pediatric Trauma and Injury Prevention Program is the only Level 1 pediatric trauma center serving the 10-county area of south-central Pennsylvania accredited by the Pennsylvania Trauma Systems Foundation since 1993..

To achieve Level 1 status – the highest designation that exists – our team must regularly demonstrate and provide:

  • The ability to provide total care for all aspects of traumatic injury
  • 24-hour coverage by general surgeons and prompt availability of specialists such as fellowship trained and accredited pediatric neurosurgeons, pediatric orthopedic surgeons and pediatric anesthesiologists
  • Active commitment to trauma-related research

Our pediatric surgical and medical specialists are available 24 hours a day to provide immediate treatment to injured children of all ages.

Concussion Program

The Concussion Program at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital provides comprehensive care to monitor and improve recovery after a concussion or brain injury. We carefully assess and document the details of your injury and its symptoms to ensure you receive proper diagnosis and treatment. We'll help you return to full activity as quickly and safely as possible.

Support Groups

Support groups provide children and their families an opportunity to connect with others in similar situations. Learn more about the support groups offered at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital.

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