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Anterior retropharyngeal approach to the cervical spine.

Author(s): Behari S | Banerji D | Trivedi P | Jain V | Chhabra D

Journal: Neurology India
ISSN 0028-3886

Volume: 49;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 342;
Date: 2001;
Original page

Keywords: Adult | Cervical Vertebrae | surgery | Decompression | Surgical | methods | Female | Human | Male | Middle Aged | Neck Pain | complications | surgery | Pharynx | Quadriplegia | complications | surgery | Spinal Cord | surgery

The anterior retropharyngeal approach (ARPA) accesses anteriorly situated lesions from the clivus to C3, in patients with a short neck, Klippel Feil anomaly or those in whom the C2-3 and C3-4 disc spaces are situated higher in relation to the hyoid bone and the angle of mandible where it is difficult to approach this region using the conventional anterior approach, due to the superomedial obliquity of the trajectory. The ARPA avoids the potentially contaminated oropharyngeal cavity providing for a simultaneous arthrodesis and instrumentation during the primary surgical procedure. Experience of five patients with high cervical extradural compression, who underwent surgery using this approach between 1994 and 1999, is presented. The surgical procedures included excision of ossified posterior longitudinal ligament (n=2); excision of prolapsed disc and osteophytes (n=2); and excision of a vertebral body neoplasm (n=1). Following the procedure, vertebral arthrodesis was achieved using an iliac graft in all the patients. Only one patient with vertebral body neoplasm required an additional anterior cervical plating procedure for stabilisation the construct. The complications included transient respiratory insufficiency and neurological deterioration in two patients; and, pharyngeal fistula and donor site infection in one patient.
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