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Cellphone-Related Injuries to Head, Neck on the Rise

Many of these injuries, particularly in younger patients, result from distraction while using cellphone

FRIDAY, Dec. 6, 2019 (HealthDay News) — The number of head and neck injuries related to cellphone use that require emergency department attention has increased during a 20-year period, according to a study published online Dec. 5 in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.

Roman Povolotskiy, from the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in Newark, and colleagues assessed data from a national database to identify 2,501 individuals (55 percent female and 37.6 percent aged 13 to 29 years) with head and neck injuries related to cellphone use who presented to U.S. emergency departments (1998 through 2017).

The researchers found that the most commonly reported subsites of injuries in the head and neck region included the head (33.1 percent); face, including eyelid, eye area, and nose (32.7 percent); and neck (12.5 percent). The most common injury types included laceration (26.3 percent), contusion/abrasion (24.5 percent), and internal organ injury (18.4 percent). Most injuries associated with cellphone user distraction occurred among individuals aged 13 to 29 years (60.3 percent). Patients <13 years were significantly more likely to sustain direct mechanical injury from a cellphone (82.1 percent) than to have a cellphone use-associated injury (17.9 percent). Among patients aged 50 to 64 years and those >65 years, a cellphone use-associated injury was more likely than a direct mechanical injury (68.2 versus 31.8 percent and 90.3 versus 9.7 percent, respectively). There was a sharp increase in injuries in 2007, at 8.99 new cases per 1 million person-years, which grew to a peak of 29.19 new cases per 1 million person-years in 2016.

“These findings suggest a need for patient education about injury prevention and the dangers of activity while using these devices,” the authors write.

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