Surgical treatment of laterally ruptured cervical disc

Review of 648 cases, 1939 to 1972

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✓ From the analysis of 648 patients operated on for ruptured cervical discs between 1939 and March of 1972 and a follow-up study of 380 of these patients, the following conclusions seem justified. Osteophytes or hypertrophic spurs rarely produced the classical clinical picture or deficits. Ninety per cent of the patients awakened in the morning with pain in the neck and rhomboid region. Ten per cent had a history of injury, but there was no characteristic pattern as in lumbar discs. Only one patient had a typical hyperextension injury. Anterior chest pain occurred in one-fifth of the cases. Pain in the neck, rhomboid region, and anterior chest was referred from the discs, while the arm pain was usually the result of nerve root compression; however, in a few cases the degenerating disc caused referred pain to the arm without any nerve root pressure. Since accurate diagnosis can be made on clinical grounds, myelography is not necessary in most cases. In our experience conservative treatment was usually unsuccessful while the surgical results were better than in almost any other neurosurgical operation. The nerve root syndromes associated with extruded lateral cervical discs are outlined and the indications and contraindications for myelography discussed.

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Address reprint requests to: Francis Murphey, M.D., Semmes-Murphey Clinic, Suite 101, Baptist Medical Building, 20 South Dudley, Memphis, Tennessee 38103.

© AANS, except where prohibited by US copyright law.

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