Brachial plexopathy after cervical Spine surgery

Khoi D. Than, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Zachary A. Smith, Wellington K. Hsu, Paul M. Arnold, Michael G. Fehlings, Thomas E. Mroz, K. Daniel Riew

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Study Design: Retrospective, multicenter case-series study and literature review. Objectives: To determine the prevalence of brachial plexopathy after cervical spine surgery and to review the literature to better understand the etiology and risk factors of brachial plexopathy after cervical spine surgery. Methods: A retrospective case-series study of 12 903 patients at 21 different sites was performed to analyze the prevalence of several different complications, including brachial plexopathy. A literature review of the US National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health (PubMed) database was conducted to identify articles pertaining to brachial plexopathy following cervical spine surgery. Results: In our total population of 12 903 patients, only 1 suffered from postoperative brachial plexopathy. The overall prevalence rate was thus 0.01%, but the prevalence rate at the site where this complication occurred was 0.07%. Previously reported risk factors for postoperative brachial plexopathy include age, anterior surgical procedures, and a diagnosis of ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament. The condition can also be due to patient positioning during surgery, which can generally be detected via the use of intraoperative neuromonitoring. Conclusions: Brachial plexopathy following cervical spine surgery is rare and merits further study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17S-20S
JournalGlobal Spine Journal
Issue number1_suppl
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • brachial plexopathy
  • cervical spine surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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