Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion requiring resection of the superior horn of thyroid cartilage: case report

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Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) is the most common surgical procedure utilized for degenerative diseases of the cervical spine. The authors present the case of a 64-year-old man who underwent an ACDF for degenerative changes causing cervical stenosis with myelopathy. The patient’s symptoms consisted of pain and weakness of the bilateral upper extremities that slowly progressed over 1.5 years. During the procedure, the superior horn of the thyroid cartilage impeded proper retraction, preventing adequate visualization due to its prominent size. At this point, otorhinolaryngology was consulted, which allowed for safe resection of this portion of the thyroid cartilage while preserving nearby critical structures. With the frequent usage of this surgical approach for various etiologies, the importance of proper recognition and consultation is paramount. Encountering prominent thyroid cartilage resulting in surgical obstruction has not been described in the literature and this report represents a paradigm for the proper course of action.

ABBREVIATIONS ACDF = anterior cervical discectomy and fusion.
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Contributor Notes

Correspondence Michael D. Martin: University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK. michael-martin@ouhsc.edu.INCLUDE WHEN CITING PUBLISHED online December 6, 2019; DOI: 10.3171/2019.9.SPINE19158.Disclosures The authors report no conflict of interest concerning the materials or methods used in this study or the findings specified in this paper.
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