Title

Bilateral C5 motor paralysis following anterior cervical surgery-a case report

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

10-1-2006

Journal

Clinical Neurology and Neurosurgery

Volume

108

Issue

7

DOI

10.1016/j.clineuro.2005.04.005

Keywords

Anterior approach; C5 palsy; Cervical myelopathy; Complication

Abstract

Numerous authors have reported C5 root palsies following posterior cervical surgery, and several mechanisms of injury have been proposed. Similar deficits after anterior cervical procedures are considered to occur less commonly. We report on a 48-year-old male who underwent multi-level anterior discectomy and fusion for cervical spondylotic myelopathy. Bilateral C5 nerve root deficits were noticed in the immediate postoperative period, and treated non-operatively. A postoperative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan showed an increase in cervical lordosis accompanied by a posterior shifting of the spinal cord. Potential mechanisms of nerve root injury in this situation are discussed, and the literature on postoperative C5 root deficits is reviewed. The patient returned to his preoperative occupation as an operating room nurse 6 months following surgery, with complete neurologic recovery occurring over an 11-month period. C5 deficits following anterior cervical surgery occur more frequently than generally assumed. Improved lordosis and longitudinal lengthening of the cervical spinal column in multilevel anterior decompression and interbody fusion can paradoxically result in a traction injury to the spinal cord and C5 nerve roots. © 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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