The pathomorphology of normal and degenerated human cervical spines that had been subjected to trauma was studied in detail by surface-cryoplaning of frozen autopsy specimens. Four cervical spines that had been surgically fused were also sectioned after removal of the metal. In young individuals, disc ruptures occurred that resulted in compromise of the vertebral canal. In degenerated spines, vertebral endplate ridges were frequently fractured. These injuries resulted in encroachment on the spinal cord as well as on the nerve roots in the foramen. Osteophytes from the uncinate processes also contributed to stenosis at the nerve root exist. These pathoanatomical findings were corroborated by intraoperative observations in patients. The high incidence of compressive lesions anteriorly in the cervical spine underscores the need to consider both anterior and posterior surgery in many of these patients.