Atypical Symptoms of Cervical Spondylosis: Is Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion Useful? - An Institutional Experience

Neurol India. 2021 May-Jun;69(3):595-601. doi: 10.4103/0028-3886.317235.


Background: A significant proportion of patients with cervical spondylosis can present with atypical symptoms like vertigo, tinnitus, nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vison, palpitations and gastrointestinal (GI) discomfort. The role of ACDF in alleviating these atypical symptoms remains unexplored.

Objective: The current study attempts to investigate the role of anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) in alleviating atypical symptoms associated with cervical spondylosis.

Materials and methods: The patients with cervical spondylosis who underwent ACDF between January 2011 and December 2015 were contacted by phone. Data regarding the severity and frequency of atypical symptoms was collected by a structured questionnaire. Wilcoxon signed rank test was used to compare the severity and frequency of these symptoms before the surgery and at last follow up.

Results: A total of 467 patients underwent ACDF for cervical spondylosis between January 2011 and December 2015, of which 358 patients were interviewed telephonically. 99 of 358 (27.65%) patients who met the eligibility criteria were included in the final analysis. The severity and frequency of vertigo, headache, nausea, vomiting and GI discomfort significantly improved at last follow-up (P < 0.001) compared to pre-operative period. Significant improvement in hypertension was also seen (P = 0.001). Improvements in severity and frequency of tinnitus (P = 0.083), palpitation (P = 0.317) and blurring of vision (P = 1.00) were not significant.

Conclusions: ACDF might improve the atypical symptoms like vertigo, headache, nausea, vomiting and GI discomfort in patients with cervical spondylosis. Some patients also show improvement in hypertension following surgery.

Keywords: Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion; atypical symptoms; cervical spondylosis.

MeSH terms

  • Cervical Vertebrae / diagnostic imaging
  • Cervical Vertebrae / surgery
  • Diskectomy
  • Humans
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spinal Fusion*
  • Spondylosis* / surgery
  • Treatment Outcome