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Bilateral C5 Motor Palsy after Anterior Cervical Decompression and Fusion: A Case Report and Review of the Literature

Steven M. Andelman, MD,1 Steven J. McAnany, MD,2 Sheeraz A. Qureshi, MD,1 Andrew C. Hecht, MD1

1Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, NY, 2 Washington University Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, St. Louis, MO



Bilateral C5 motor palsy is a rare but potentially debilitating complication after cervical spine decompression with very few reports in the published literature.


To present a case of bilateral C5 motor palsy after anterior cervical decompression and fusion and discuss the incidence and risk factors of this complication.

Study Design/Setting

We report a case of a 57-year-old male who underwent a three level C3-C6 anterior cervical discectomy and fusion with instrumentation who developed a postoperative bilateral C5 motor palsy.


A review of the literature was performed regarding reports on and incidence of post-operative bilateral C5 palsy following either anterior or posterior cervical spine decompression.


Bilateral C5 motor palsy is a rare complication of cervical spine decompression with an overall incidence of 0.38%. Although a group of risk factors have been suggested no single cause has been identified.


Bilateral C5 motor palsy is a rare but debilitating complication of cervical decompression.

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C5 palsy, bilateral, cervical decompression
Volume 11 Issue 2
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