Head and Spine Trauma
Head and spine trauma in children range from mild concussions to more severe spinal cord injuries that require surgery. No matter the cause, we want to make sure your child’s head and spine are treated appropriately. As a Level 1 trauma center, Penn State Children’s Hospital offers the highest possible level of care for children with traumatic head and spine injuries.
Care at Children's
Penn State pediatric neurosurgery program provides comprehensive, multidisciplinary care for children with head and spine trauma.
American Nurses Credentialing Center has awarded us Magnet status, a recognition of superior nursing processes and quality patient care.
Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center is the only Level I trauma center in the region for both adults and children.
To achieve Level 1 status - the highest designation - a trauma center must have a range of capabilities and qualities, including:
- Ability to provide total care for all aspects of injury
- 24-hour coverage by general surgeons and prompt availability of specialists such as neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, and 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.
Penn State Concussion Program provides comprehensive care to patients recovering from concussion and brain injury. We carefully assess and document event history and symptoms to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment - all with the goal of getting the patient to return to full activity as quickly and safely as possible.
Our multidisciplinary team includes specialists in:
- Sports medicine
- Speech therapy
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Educational support
What we treat
We evaluate and treat all types of head and spine trauma.
Head trauma may be caused by a variety of incidents, including:
- Car accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Sports injuries
- Child abuse (abusive head trauma, or Shaken Baby Syndrome)
Brain trauma may be caused from:
- A sudden force or impact
- Swelling or changes in blood flow
- Bleeding (hemorrhage) inside of the skull
The spine and spinal cord may also be injured in trauma, although this is much less common in children than it is in adults and children rarely become paralyzed from spinal cord injury. However, because of their immature spine anatomy, children may have unique injuries that do not commonly occur in adults. Because of this, we pay particular attention to the effects of the injuries and treatments on the growing spine.
Treatments for head and spine trauma vary depending on the severity and complexity of the injury.
Potential surgical treatments for head injury include repairing depressed skull fractures, removing blood clots within the head, or inserting a monitor to measure the pressure in the head (intracranial pressure monitoring).
Spine trauma treatments may include stabilization of the spine with an external brace or surgery to fuse the spine.
Head and spine trauma care involves multidisciplinary care from many departments, including:
- Orthopaedic surgery
- Critical care
Our pediatric clinic is located at:
Penn State Bone and Joint Institute
30 Hope Drive, Suite 2200, Entrance B
Hershey, PA 17033
An additional clinic is located at:
Penn State Medical Group, St. Joseph Medical Center, Reading
2494 Bernville Road, Suite 106
Reading, PA 19605
Groups, Classes & Support
Support groups provide an opportunity to share your feelings and connect with other parents and caregivers who are experiencing similar struggles.
Learn more about pediatric support groups offered at Penn State Children’s Hospital.