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Arch Orthop Trauma Surg. 2013 Aug;133(8):1067-71. doi: 10.1007/s00402-013-1773-y. Epub 2013 May 21.

Early dysphagia complicating anterior cervical spine surgery: incidence and risk factors.

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Department of Spinal Surgery, Nanfang Hospital, Southern Medical University, 1838 North Guangzhou Avenue, Guangzhou, 510515, China.



Dysphagia is a common complication of anterior cervical spine surgery, and most of them occurred in the early postoperative period. This study aimed to determine the incidence of early dysphagia after anterior cervical spine surgery and to identify its risk factors.


A review of 186 consecutive patients undergoing anterior cervical spine surgeries in a 3-year period was performed. Dysphagia at postoperative 1 month was surveyed, and the severity of dysphagia was evaluated. Demographic information and procedural characters were collected to determine their relationships to dysphagia.


A total of 50 patients developed early postoperative dysphagia, including 23 males and 27 females. The incidence of early dysphagia after anterior cervical spine surgery was 26.9 % in this study. Mild, moderate, and severe dysphagia were found in 30, 14, and 6 patients, respectively. Female, advanced age, multi-levels surgery, use of plate, and a big protrusion of plate were found to be significantly increased early dysphagia after anterior cervical spine surgery.


There is a relatively high incidence of early dysphagia after anterior cervical spine surgery, which may be attributable to multiple factors.

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