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Surg Neurol Int


Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion; Complications; Delayed onset dysphagia; Hardware failure


Background: Dysphagia is a common complication immediately following anterior cervical spine surgery. However, its onset more than 1-year postoperatively is rare.

Case Description: A 45-year-old male initially underwent a C3-4 and C5-6 anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF). At age 49, 4 years later, he presented with worsening dysphagia accompanied by neck and right upper extremity pain. Radiographs demonstrated an extruded left C3 screw, which had migrated into the prevertebral soft tissues at the C4-C5 level; there was also loosening of the right C3 screw. The subsequent barium swallow study revealed that the screw was embedded in the pharyngeal wall. The patient required a two-stage operation; first, to remove the anterior instrumentation, and second, to perform a posterior instrumented C2-T2 fusion.

Conclusion: A barium swallow study and other dynamic imaging are a valuable component of the diagnostic workup and therapeutic intervention to evaluate the delayed onset dysphagia following an ACDF.

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Neurosciences (Brain & Spine)



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