Neck and Shoulder Pain After Laminoplasty: A Noticeable Complication

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Study Design

The authors retrospectively analyzed the prevalence and features of neck and shoulder pain (axial symptoms) after anterior interbody fusion and laminoplasty in patients with cervical spondylotic myelopathy.


To reveal the difference in prevalence of postoperative axial symptoms between anterior interbody fusion and laminoplasty and to clarify the pathogenesis of axial symptoms after laminoplasty.

Summary of Background Data

Outcome of the cervical surgery is evaluated on neurologic status alone; axial symptoms after laminoplasty rarely have been investigated. Such symptoms, however, are often severe enough to interfere with a person's daily activity.


Ninety-eight patients had surgery for their disability secondary to cervical spondylotic myelopathy. Of those patients, 72 had laminoplasty, and 26 had anterior interbody fusion. The presence or absence of axial symptoms was investigated before and after surgery. The duration, severity, and laterality of symptoms were also recorded.


The prevalence of postoperative axial symptoms was significantly higher after laminoplasty than after anterior fusion (60% vs. 19%; P < 0.05). In 18 patients (25%) from the laminoplasty group, the chief complaints after surgery were related to axial symptoms for more than 3 months, whereas in the anterior fusion group, no patient reported having such severe pain after surgery.


The prevalence and severity of axial symptoms after laminoplasty proved to be higher and more serious than has been believed. Such symptoms should be considered in the evaluation of the outcome of cervical spinal surgery.

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