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May 17, 1952


Author Affiliations

San Francisco
Assistant Clinical Professor of Surgery, Stanford University School of Medicine.

JAMA. 1952;149(3):227-228. doi:10.1001/jama.1952.02930200013003

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Laminectomy for correction of intraspinal lesions at the cervical level long has been considered a relatively safe procedure. Recently, however, I have heard of several instances in which there was postoperative evidence of grave injury to the spinal cord following operations for herniation of a portion of an intervertebral disk in the cervical spine. It was not until three dissimilar cases came to my personal attention that I realized there might be a common denominator responsible for the difficulty quite apart from the operative procedure.


Case 1.—  The patient, whom I attended, was a 72-year-old retired contractor who fell downstairs Oct. 4, 1949, and sustained an anterior dislocation of the sixth cervical vertebra on the seventh. This resulted in pain and disabling weakness of each upper extremity. But there was no motor or sensory disturbance in the lower extremities. The patient was able to walk perfectly well,

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