Esophageal perforation following anterior cervical spine surgery

Kenneth E. Newhouse, Ronald W. Lindsey, Charles R. Clark, Jonas Lieponis, Michael J. Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

137 Scopus citations


The authors surveyed the Cervical Spine Research Society to compile a series of esophageal perforations following anterior cervical spine surgery. Twenty-two cases were assembled. Six occurred at the time of surgery, 6 in the postoperative period, and 10 weeks to months later. Eight surgeries were because of fracture. Hardware was implicated In 25% of cases occurring after surgery. Diagnosis was confirmed most often by direct vision at reex-ploratlon or esophography. Treatment usually consisted of drainage, repair, and parenteral antibiotics; 2 cases were successfully treated by enteral feeding and antibiotics alone. There was one fatality, and all patients required prolonged hospitalization. Cervical fracture and the use of hardware may be associated with this complication. Clinical suspicion and esophography are important diagnostic tools. Drainage and parenteral antibiotics are recommended treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1051-1053
Number of pages3
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1989
Externally publishedYes


  • Anterior cervical spine surgery
  • Diagnosis
  • Esophogeal perforation
  • Management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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