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Swallowing and Vocal Problems Fade After Cervical Surgery

Study finds most anterior cervical decompression patients satisfied with outcome

FRIDAY, Aug. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Patients who undergo anterior cervical decompression (ACD) commonly experience swallowing and vocal problems following surgery, but these difficulties are usually temporary and do not interfere with patient satisfaction overall, according to study findings published in the August issue of the Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine.

Hanna Tervonen, M.D., of Helsinki University Central Hospital in Helsinki, Finland, and colleagues examined 50 ACD patients (median age, 53 years) just before and just after their operations. The patients were sent follow-up questionnaires three months later, and some had follow-up exams. A second group of 64 ACD patients (median age, 51 years) were examined between three and nine months after their operations.

Immediately following surgery, 60 percent of patients in the early group reported dysphonia and 69 percent reported dysphagia. Three to nine months after surgery, 7 percent of the early group and 21 percent of patients in the late group who responded reported persistent dysphonia, while 12 percent of the early group and 15 percent of the late group had persistent dysphagia.

"Careful patient selection, proper preoperative information, and referral to an ear, nose and throat specialist in cases of persistent dysphonia and dysphagia are recommended," the authors conclude.

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