gms | German Medical Science

57th Annual Meeting of the German Society of Neurosurgery
Joint Meeting with the Japanese Neurosurgical Society

German Society of Neurosurgery (DGNC)

11 - 14 May, Essen

The incidence of C5-C6 radiculopathy as a complication of extensive cervical decompression

Die Inzidenz der C5-C6 Läsion als Komplikation von langstreckigen zervikalen Dekompressionen

Meeting Abstract

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  • corresponding author R. Greiner-Perth - Klinik für Wirbelsäulenchirurgie, orthopädische Chirurgie und Neurotraumatologie, SRH Waldklinikum Gera
  • Y. Allam - Klinik für Wirbelsäulenchirurgie, orthopädische Chirurgie und Neurotraumatologie, SRH Waldklinikum Gera

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie. Japanische Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie. 57. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie e.V. (DGNC), Joint Meeting mit der Japanischen Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie. Essen, 11.-14.05.2006. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2006. DocP 11.186

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published: May 8, 2006

© 2006 Greiner-Perth et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Objective: This study aims to discuss and compare our results with those previously mentioned in the literature as regards the C5-6 radiculopathy that occurs after decompression done for cervical spondylotic myelopathy.

Methods: From January 1994 to November 2002, 121 patients underwent cervical corpectomies for cervical spondylotic myelopathy. The preoperative and the postoperatively discovered paresis have been assessed according to the criteria of the British Medical Council. The Nurick Scale was used to grade the severity of the myelopathic changes.

Results: The follow-up period varied from 4 to 111 months with an average of 50 months. Symptoms of C5 and/or C6 radiculopathy appeared in 10 patients (8.2%) postoperatively. Aggravation of a preoperative C5 and/or C6 radiculopathy was seen in three patients, while seven patients developed a new C5 and/or C6 radiculopathy at the immediate postoperative period. These motor deficits resolved completely in seven patients within seven months after the surgery, whereas a residual motor weakness remained in the other three patients.

Conclusions: The postoperative C5 motor deficit is not infrequently associated with partial involvement of the C6 root. The lesions can be either unilateral or bilateral with an statistically average frequency of 8%. The prognosis is generally favorable. Our results did not support the claimed cord shift phenomenon to be a possible aetiology.