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Myelographic Evaluation of Cervical Spondylosis: Patient Tolerance and Complications

Scientific Paper

Chin KR1, Eiszner JRHuang JLHuang JIRoh JSBohlman HH.

Interested medical professionals can read the full paper, as published in Clinical Spine Surgery, here.


Retrospective chart review of documented adverse events in 637 consecutive patients after computed tomogram myelography and follow-up interview of the most recent 100 of these patients.


This study assessed documented prevalence of adverse events after diagnostic myelography in cervical spondylotic patients and compared with perceived adverse events and satisfaction in a subset of the same cohort of patients.


There are some data that suggest complimentary benefits of myelography to magnetic resonance imaging. However, given the invasive nature of myelography, there are little data documenting the adverse events and patient experience with myelography to guide informed consent and physician choice of this study.


We analyzed the records of 637 consecutive patients (364 males and 273 females) after myelography. Five hundred forty-four patients (group 1) had a cervical approach and 93 (group 2) had a lumbar approach. The last 100 consecutive patients (85 in group 1 and 15 in group 2) were asked questions that addressed patient perceived adverse reactions, pain levels, and satisfaction.


There was a 4.4% (28/637) prevalence of documented abnormal reactions. Group 1 had a 4.9% (25/506) prevalence of adverse reactions compared with 3.4% (3/89) in group 2. Overall 6.6% (42/637) had to have their myelographic procedures converted. Group 1 had 7% (38/544) converted to the lumbar approach group 2 had 4.3% (4/93) converted to the cervical approach. Thirty percent of the 100 patients interviewed felt they had an unexpected reaction (28 group 1 and 2 group 2). When interviewed, 14% of patients had maximum pain scores of 10 during the procedure and 8% (all group 1) felt worse pain after the procedure was completed. Six group 1 and 2 group 2 patients would not have the procedure again even when recommended by the surgeon. There was no statistically significant difference between complication rates, conversion rates, or patient perceived unexpected reactions between the 2 groups (beta=0.90).


This paper demonstrated the discrepancy between documented adverse events with computed tomogram myelography and patient reported tolerance as recorded by telephone follow-up. The cervical approach had a greater degree of patient perceived discomfort and a trend toward higher documented and patient reported adverse events and rate of approach conversion to a lumbar approach (P>0.5). When choosing myelography to evaluate patients with cervical spondylosis, the surgeon should consider the low patient tolerance and frequent adverse reactions that often go undocumented.


Dr. Kingsley R. Chin, Founder of philosophy and practice of The LES Society and The LESS Institute

Dr. Kingsley R. Chin is a board certified Harvard-trained orthopedic spine surgeon and professor with copious business and information technology exposure. He sees a niche opportunity where medicine, business and info. tech meet – and is uniquely educated at the intersection of these three professions. He has experience as Professor of Clinical Biomedical Sciences & Admissions Committee Member at the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University, Professor of Clinical Orthopedic Surgery at the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine at Florida International University, Assistant Professor of Orthopaedics at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, Visiting Spine Surgeon & Professor at the University of the West Indies, Mona, and Adjunct Professor of Clinical Biomedical Studies at the University of Technology, Jamaica.

Learn more about Dr. Chin here and connect via LinkedIn.


Less Exposure Surgery (LES) is based on a new philosophy of performing surgery, leading the charge to prove through bench and clinical outcomes research that LES treatment options are the best solutions – to lowering the cost of healthcare, improving outcomes and increasing patient satisfaction. Learn more at LESSociety.org.

The LES Society philosophy: “Tailor treatment to the individual aiding in the quickest recovery and return to a pain-free lifestyle, using LES® techniques that lessen exposure, preserve unoffending anatomy and utilize new technologies which are safe, easy to adopt and reproducible. These LES®techniques lessen blood loss, surgical time and exposure to radiation and can be safely performed in an outpatient center. Less is more.” – Kingsley R. Chin, MD


The LESS Institute is the world leader center of excellence in Less Exposure Surgery. Our safe, effective outpatient treatments help patients recover quickly, avoid expensive hospital stays and return home to their family the same day. Watch our patient stories, follow us on Facebook and visit TheLESSInstitute.com to learn more.


The above study utilized LES Technology from SpineFrontier – leading provider of LES Technologies and instruments – offering surgeons and patients superior technology and services.



Chin KR1, Eiszner JRHuang JLHuang JIRoh JSBohlman HH.

Author information

  1. Division of Spine Surgery, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, PA 19104, USA. [email protected]

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