Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion for the treatment of pediatric Hirayama disease

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Child's nervous system : ChNS : official journal of the International Society for Pediatric Neurosurgery




Anterior cervical fusion; Hirayama disease; Pediatric spinal surgery


PURPOSE: Hirayama disease, a rare cervical myelopathy in children and young adults, leads to progressive upper limb weakness and muscle loss. Non-invasive external cervical orthosis has been shown to prevent further neurologic decline; however, this treatment modality has not been successful at restoring neurologic and motor function, especially in long standing cases with significant weakness. The pathophysiology remains not entirely understood, complicating standardized operative guidelines; however, some studies report favorable outcomes with internal fixation. We report a successful surgically treated case of pediatric Hirayama disease, supplemented by a systematic review and collation of reported cases in the literature. METHODS: A review of the literature was performed by searching PubMed, Embase, and Web of Science. Full-length articles were included if they reported clinical data regarding the treatment of at least one patient with Hirayama disease and the neurologic outcome of that treatment. Articles were excluded if they did not provide information on treatment outcomes, were abstract-only publications, or were published in languages other than English. RESULTS: Of the fifteen articles reviewed, 63 patients were described, with 59 undergoing surgery. This encompassed both anterior and posterior spinal procedures and 1 hand tendon transfer. Fifty-five patients, including one from our institution, showed improvement post-treatment. Eleven of these patients were under 18 years old. CONCLUSION: Hirayama disease is an infrequent yet impactful cervical myelopathy with limited high-quality evidence available for optimal treatment. The current literature supports surgical decompression and stabilization as promising interventions. However, comprehensive research is crucial for evolving diagnosis and treatment paradigms.


Neurological Surgery