Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Neck FAQ

Question:

If I have calcium building up on my vertebrae, causing neck pain, wouldn't it be easier to have surgery to scrape it all away? I was treated for a condition called crowned dens syndrome. It was so painful and I'm afraid that it will come back.

Answer:

Surgery is the type of treatment that should only be done as a last resort if medical treatments don't work. Surgery has many risks and when surgery is performed, the surgeon must decide that the risks of surgery are better than the risks of not performing the surgery.

In the case of crowned dens syndrome, where there is calcification on the second vertebrae, causing pain and pressure in the neck, medical treatment appears to be the best option.

Studies have shown that treatment with a corticosteroid and/or non-steroidal anti-inflammatories is very effective, with a low recurrence rate. For those patients who do have a recurrence, repeat treatment appears to be very successful as well. Shinichi Goto, MD, et al. Crowned Dens Syndrome. In The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. December 2007. Vol. 89-A. Pp. 2732-2736.

*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.
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