The Evaluation of Dysphagia After Anterior Cervical Spine Surgery: A Case Report

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The anterior approach to cervical spine surgery is associated with many possible complications. Dysphagia has commonly been reported as one of these complications. A closer examination of the reports of dysphagia following anterior cervical spine surgery, however, reveals that while new onset transient dysphagia is often mentioned, long-term (greater than 48 hours) dysphagia has not been well described. In this article, we report the case of a 29-year-old female with long-term recurrent dysphagia following cervical spine surgery using the anterior approach. The important point about this case is that our patient's symptoms suddenly recurred for the first time after, nearly a two-month period of normal swallowing. Consequently, this patient has required multiple dilations. As a result, despite an initial lack of swallowing dysfunction or the return of normal swallowing, clinicians should be aware of the importance of reassessing swallowing in patients who have undergone cervical spine surgery using the anterior approach.