Adjacent segment disease: An uncommon complication after cervical expansile laminoplasty: Case report

Michael Y. Wang, Barth A. Green, Elizabeth Vitarbo, Allan D.O. Levi, Edward C. Benzel, Paul C. McCormick, Regis W. Haid, Richard G. Fessler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE AND IMPORTANCE: Adjacent segment disc disease is a well-described phenomenon that occurs after anterior cervical spinal fusion. One of the advantages of cervical laminoplasty over anterior approaches is that although the treated segments are stiffened, no formal fusion is performed. This is thought to reduce the biomechanical stresses placed on adjacent levels and thus decrease the likelihood of adjacent level degeneration. CLINICAL PRESENTATION: A 62-year-old man presented with myelopathy attributable to cervical spondylosis and underwent a C3-C7 laminoplasty. Improvements in gait were followed 2 years later by symptomatic disc degeneration and spinal cord compression at T1-T2, which rendered him wheelchair bound. INTERVENTION: The patient was treated with a laminectomy at the level of stenosis accompanied by posterior instrumentation and fusion from C5 to T3. This resulted in clinical improvement, and the patient was returned to his baseline ambulatory status. CONCLUSION: Adjacent segment disease is an uncommon complication that occurs after laminoplasty. Careful attention to preserving facet joint motion in the cervical spine may minimize the stresses placed on adjacent motion segments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)770-773
Number of pages4
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2003


  • Cervical spine
  • Disc herniation
  • Laminoplasty
  • Myelopathy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery


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