Esophageal Perforation Following Anterior Cervical Spine Surgery: Case Report and Review of the Literature.


Multicenter retrospective case series and review of the literature.To determine the rate of esophageal perforations following anterior cervical spine surgery.As part of an AOSpine series on rare complications, a retrospective cohort study was conducted among 21 high-volume surgical centers to identify esophageal perforations following anterior cervical spine surgery. Staff at each center abstracted data from patients' charts and created case report forms for each event identified. Case report forms were then sent to the AOSpine North America Clinical Research Network Methodological Core for data processing and analysis.The records of 9591 patients who underwent anterior cervical spine surgery were reviewed. Two (0.02%) were found to have esophageal perforations following anterior cervical spine surgery. Both cases were detected and treated in the acute postoperative period. One patient was successfully treated with primary repair and debridement. One patient underwent multiple debridement attempts and expired.Esophageal perforation following anterior cervical spine surgery is a relatively rare occurrence. Prompt recognition and treatment of these injuries is critical to minimizing morbidity and mortality.





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Publication Info

Hershman, Stuart H, William A Kunkle, Michael P Kelly, Jacob M Buchowski, Wilson Z Ray, David B Bumpass, Jeffrey L Gum, Colleen M Peters, et al. (2017). Esophageal Perforation Following Anterior Cervical Spine Surgery: Case Report and Review of the Literature. Global spine journal, 7(1 Suppl). pp. 28S–36S. 10.1177/2192568216687535 Retrieved from

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Christopher Ignatius Shaffrey

Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery

I have more than 25 years of experience treating patients of all ages with spinal disorders. I have had an interest in the management of spinal disorders since starting my medical education. I performed residencies in both orthopaedic surgery and neurosurgery to gain a comprehensive understanding of the entire range of spinal disorders. My goal has been to find innovative ways to manage the range of spinal conditions, straightforward to complex. I have a focus on managing patients with complex spinal disorders. My patient evaluation and management philosophy is to provide engaged, compassionate care that focuses on providing the simplest and least aggressive treatment option for a particular condition. In many cases, non-operative treatment options exist to improve a patient’s symptoms. I have been actively engaged in clinical research to find the best ways to manage spinal disorders in order to achieve better results with fewer complications.

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