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  • Oral presentation
  • Open Access

Complications of the anterior retropharyngeal surgical approach to the degenerative cervical spine

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BMC Proceedings20126 (Suppl 4) :O3

  • Published:


  • Postoperative Complication
  • Cervical Spine
  • Related Event
  • Treated Patient
  • Adjacent Segment


Anterior cervical retropharyngeal approach for decompression of neural structures is well known and considered as an effective surgical procedure. Opportunities for segment fusion or discoarthroplasty for motion preservation are granted. Both conceptions have their advantages and disadvantages separately from risks of the surgical approach. The aim of this study is to present and analyze the complications of the anterior retropharyngeal surgical approach to the degenerative cervical spine.


A database of treated patients at the Clinic of Neurosurgery, Sv. Ivan Rilski Hospital, Sofia, Bulgaria, between January 2006 and August 2011 with cervical spine pathology was used. Certain inclusion and exclusion criteria were applied to select 398 patients with a total of 434 procedures. Comparisons and analysis were done using the observed and recorded initial and follow-up data.


We present results for intra- and postoperative complications such as dural tears, infections and haemorrhages as well as non-surgically related events. An analysis of risk factors is performed. Risks for adjacent segment degeneration are discussed in details.


We conclude that the adverse events related to the implant or implantation among groups is not different given the similarity in techniques and treatment course between applied procedures. The most clinically relevant to a patient's quality of life is the adequate decompression of neural structures and expertise based on the patient's individuality.

Authors’ Affiliations

Medical University-Sofia, Bulgaria


© Mihaylova et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2012

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.