C5 nerve root palsy following decompression of the cervical spine: A systematic evaluation of the literature

J. Z. Guzman, E. O. Baird, A. C. Fields, S. J. McAnany, S. A. Qureshi, A. C. Hecht, S. K. Cho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations

Abstract

C5 nerve root palsy is a rare and potentially debilitating complication of cervical spine surgery. Currently, however, there are no guidelines to help surgeons to prevent or treat this complication. We carried out a systematic review of the literature to identify the causes of this complication and options for its prevention and treatment. Searches of PubMed, Embase and Medline yielded 60 articles for inclusion, most of which addressed C5 palsy as a complication of surgery. Although many possible causes were given, most authors supported posterior migration of the spinal cord with tethering of the nerve root as being the most likely. Early detection and prevention of a C5 nerve root palsy using neurophysiological monitoring and variations in surgical technique show promise by allowing surgeons to minimise or prevent the incidence of C5 palsy. Conservative treatment is the current treatment of choice; most patients make a full recovery within two years.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)950-955
Number of pages6
JournalBone and Joint Journal
Volume96 B
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2014

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