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Saturday, October 13, 2012

How Does Cervical Spine Surgery Potentially Cause Voice and Swallow Problems? [video]

6 comments
It is not unusual for an ENT surgeon to see patients with swallowing and voice difficulties after cervical spine surgery. In particular, the ACDF surgery (Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion).

The key to understanding these issues is to first understand the anatomy involved.

The cervical spine is located in the back of the neck. In front of this spine is the esophagus (swallowing tube) and voicebox.

As such, when a spine surgeon goes through the FRONT of the neck in order to perform cervical spine surgery located in the BACK of the neck, (s)he has to move the esophagus and voicebox over to the side.


A plate is than fixated to the spine to fuse the cervical vertebral bodies.

Because of such manipulation of the esophagus and voicebox, it is not uncommon for a patient to complain of hoarseness and difficulty swallowing after surgery.

Fortunately, such problems usually dissipate with time, but not always.

Watch the video describing ACDF and how it can affect voice and swallow.

6 comments:

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