Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Neck FAQ

Question:

My mother was diagnosed with pressure on the spinal cord from a degenerative vertebra in the neck. After surgery, she ended up staying in the hospital much longer than expected. Does this seem unusual? Everyone acted like it was a rare event.

Answer:

Symptoms from pressure on the spinal cord or spinal nerves is called myelopathy. When it occurs in the cervical spine (neck), it's called a cervical myelopathy.

Degenerative changes in the spine (usually from aging) can cause bone spurs to form around the spinal joints. The joint spaces start to narrow. This condition is called spondylosis. Spondylosis with cervical myelopathy is a common problem causing chronic pain in older adults.

Surgery may be needed to stabilize this condition. Complications occur in about four per cent of the patients. An inpatient hospital survey in the U.S. over a 10-year period showed that adults older than 74 years of age were four times more likely to develop problems after cervical spine surgery. This was especially true for those who had a posterior fusion for spondylosis with cervical myelopathy.

In addition, the same group of patients were 19 times more likely to die during their hospital stay. So although unusual, your mother's situation is not rare. Marjorie C. Wang, MD, MPH, et al. Complications and Mortality Associated with Cervical Spine Surgery for Degenerative Disease in the United States. In Spine. February 1, 2007. Vol. 32. No. 3. Pp. 342-347.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
All content provided by eORTHOPOD® is a registered trademark of Medical Multimedia Group, L.L.C.. Content is the sole property of Medical Multimedia Group, LLC and used herein by permission.

Our Specialties

Where Does It Hurt?

Our Locations

  Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow us on YouTube
Follow us on Twitter