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Surg Neurol. 2008 Mar;69(3):310-2; discussion 312-3. doi: 10.1016/j.surneu.2007.02.037. Epub 2008 Feb 8.

Esophageal erosion 9 years after anterior cervical plate implantation.

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Department of Neurological Surgery, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143-0112, USA.



Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion is 1 of the most common spinal procedures performed. Most complications are observed during the intraoperative or immediate postoperative period. Long-term complications are not often described. A review of literature revealed 5 years as the longest complication interval. We present a case of esophageal erosion 9 years after initial surgery that was successfully treated.


We describe a case of a 42-year-old woman who presented with recurrent pneumonia secondary to esophageal erosion almost 1 decade after anterior cervical spine surgery. This is the longest documented delay in presentation of esophageal erosion published to date. The diagnosis was made during EGD and the treatment consisted of plate removal and esophagus repair. The pertinent literature is reviewed and the therapeutic implications are discussed.


In this report, we describe an uncommon case of esophageal erosion 9 years after anterior cervical plating. In cases of hardware migration even many years after surgery or in patients with intrinsic esophageal disease, potential esophageal damage should be considered.

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