Surgical Management of Cervical Radiculopathy

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Cervical radiculopathy presents as pain in a dermatomal distribution. Despite conservative nonoperative therapy, a large subset of patients will require surgical intervention. Indications for surgery include recalcitrant radiculopathy despite nonoperative treatment for more than 6 weeks and progressive motor deficit or disabling motor deficit (deltoid palsy, wrist drop) prior to 6 weeks. Anterior and posterior approaches have both yielded successful results in appropriately selected patients. Anterior cervical diskectomy and fusion is the generally preferred tretment for radiculopathy when there is a significant component of axial neck pain, when the disease is centrally located, or when there is any degree of segmental kyphosis. Posterior laminoforaminotomy is an acceptable choice for lateral soft disk herniations with predominant arm pain and for caudal lesions in large, short-necked individuals.

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