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Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2009 Feb;266(2):285-91. doi: 10.1007/s00405-008-0735-4. Epub 2008 Jun 28.

Dysphagia caused by ventral osteophytes of the cervical spine: clinical and radiographic findings.

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Department of Phoniatrics and Pediatric Audiology ENT Department, University Clinic Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany.


The purpose of our study was to demonstrate the clinical and radiographic findings in patients with dysphagia and ventral osteophytes of the cervical spine due to degeneration or as a typical feature of diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH, Forestier Disease). Since 2003 we encountered 20 patients with such changes in the cervical spine causing an impairment of deglutition. A total of 12 patients had one solitary pair of osteophytes of neighboring vertebrae, 4 patients revealed two pairs and 4 patients had triple pairs of osteophytes. Thirty-two osteophytes were observed totally. A total of 14 of these arose from the right, 15 from the left side and 3 from the middle of the anterior face of the vertebra. Ten patients suffered from DISH, while ten patients revealed osteophytes as a part of a degenerative disorder of the cervical spine. The osteophytes had an average length of 19 mm maximum anterior posterior range. Most of the osteophytes (16) were found in the segments C5/6 and C6/7. Osteophytes of vertebrae C3/4/5 occurred in six cases. Only in one case C2/3 was affected. Functional endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES) revealed an aspiration of thin liquids in seven patients with osteophytes arising from the anterior face of the vertebra C3/4/5 restricting the motility of the epiglottis, which seemed not to close the aditus laryngis. Retention of solids in the piriform sinus on the side obstructed by an osteophyte (C4/5) could also be repeatedly evidenced through FEES. In one case, a strong impairment of the voice because of an immobility of the right vocal cord due to mechanical obstruction by an osteophyte was the indication for surgical removal of the structure. Thus, the dysphagia of this patient was reduced and his voice turned to normal. The development of symptoms in patients with ventral osteophytes was very much related to the location of the structures. Moreover, the clinical symptoms were to some extent dependent on the size of the osteophytes, although there was no direct correlation between size of the structure and severity of the patient's complaint.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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