Surgical techniques of anterior decompression and fusion for spinal cord injuries

H. H. Bohlman, F. J. Eismont

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Many patients who have static or only slowly improving neurologic deficits and significant compression of the spinal cord and nerve roots can benefit from anterior decompression. The improvement ranges from partial root recovery to very dramatic improvement in upper as well as lower extremities in the patient with quadriparesis. Intrinsic damage or contusion of the spinal cord cannot be reversed by decompression. patients with motor sparing preoperatively attain a better functional improvement than those patients who have only slight distal sensory function initially. The same can be said of patients with spinal cord injuries treated without surgery, but we believe the ultimate degree of functional recovery of incomplete cord injuries is greater following anterior than posterior decompression when the operation is indicated. An early accurate diagnosis must be made concerning whether a patient has a complete or an incomplete spinal cord injury. The mechanical compressive lesion must be well documented by myelography, laminography, or CAT scan. The patient should not be neurologically harmed by a posterior laminectomy approach to anterior pathology which additionally removes all posterior stability. An anterior compressive block is best removed through an anterior approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-67
Number of pages11
JournalClinical orthopaedics and related research
StatePublished - Jan 1 1981
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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