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Overview of blunt abdominal trauma in children

Donna Reyes Mendez, MD
Section Editors
Richard G Bachur, MD
George A Woodward, MD
Deputy Editor
James F Wiley, II, MD, MPH


The evaluation and management of children with blunt abdominal trauma will be reviewed here. The assessment and treatment of children with specific injuries to the spleen, liver, pancreas, or gastrointestinal tract are discussed separately. (See "Hollow viscus blunt abdominal trauma in children" and "Liver, spleen, and pancreas injury in children with blunt abdominal trauma".)


Children are more vulnerable to blunt abdominal injury than adults for the following reasons (see "Trauma management: Unique pediatric considerations", section on 'Abdomen'):

Relatively compact torsos with smaller anterior-posterior diameters, which provide a smaller area over which the force of injury can be dissipated.

Larger viscera, especially liver and spleen, which extend below the costal margin

Less overlying fat, and weaker abdominal musculature to cushion intraabdominal structures

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Apr 25, 2017.
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