Ventral Herniation of the Cervical Cord After Single-Level Corpectomy


Department of Neurosurgery, Advocate BroMenn Medical Center

Department of Neurosurgery, Advocate Christ Medical Center


BACKGROUND: Spinal cord herniation in the cervical spine is an exceptionally rare occurrence. It is most often cited in association with surgery and almost exclusively with a posterior approach. Herniation with an anterior approach has been reported in 3 cases after multilevel corpectomy, all of which involved herniation through a dural defect sustained during surgery.

CASE DESCRIPTION: A 49-year-old man presented to the emergency room with generalized fatigue. He had a previous anterior C5 corpectomy and posterior cervical fusion from C2-T4 performed 17 years prior for a cervical kyphotic deformity that developed after a laminectomy. Magnetic resonance imaging of the cervical spine demonstrated a significant ventral cord herniation into the C5 ventral corpectomy site. The patient underwent a C4-6 vertebral corpectomy with C3-7 anterior reconstruction, fusion, and instrumentation with successful reduction and anatomic realignment of the spinal cord herniation.

CONCLUSIONS: We present a case of cervical cord herniation that occurred into the ventral corpectomy site without obvious dural defect. We hypothesize that cerebral spinal pulsations over time degraded the corpectomy site and ultimately promoted herniation of the spinal cord. Here, we discuss the successful surgical management of this unique pathology and discuss a relevant review of the literature.

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