Dramatic Rise in Head and Neck Injuries Associated with Cell Phone Use Interview with:
Roman Povolotskiy
MD Candidate ’20
Rutgers University
New Jersey Medical School What is the background for this study?

Response: The idea for the study came from seeing a few patients with stories of their injuries related to cellphones. Aside from the now ubiquitous texting while driving, we also had patients who were dropping cellphones on their faces while texting in bed. We wanted to see how many head and neck injuries are related to these devices that we can’t seem to take out hands or eyes off of.

The main findings were that the incidence of cell phone related injuries has seen a dramatic rise in the recent decade, starting around the time that smart phones really started to take off. We also found that this problem is most prevalent in the adolescent and young adult age groups. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: From law enforcement to billboards on the highway telling us not to text and drive, we are constantly reminded about the dangers of using our phones while driving. However, driving is not the only activity which requires your complete attention to prevent injury. Look in any big city and you see will see the majority of people walking with their heads down buried in their smart phones. Readers should understand that doing this poses a danger to yourself and others more than they may think. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: There have already been proposed laws banning texting while walking and other activities. Future research should focus on looking at this problem on an even wider scale. Although we feel we captured a large proportion of the serious injuries that require a visit to the emergency room, plenty of people may be getting injured and treated at urgent cares, primary care doctors, etc… Additionally, there should be focus on characterizing the broad issue of smart phone addiction in the world today.

Any disclosures?

We have no disclosures, this project was conducted independently without any funding from outside entities. 


Povolotskiy R, Gupta N, Leverant AB, Kandinov A, Paskhover B. Head and Neck Injuries Associated With Cell Phone Use. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. Published online December 05, 2019. doi: 


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Last Updated on December 9, 2019 by Marie Benz MD FAAD