Parkinson Disease, Dysphagia, and Cervical Spine Surgery

Mauricio J. Avila, Pedro Aguilar-Salinas, Aaron R. Burket, Travis M. Dumont

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Study Design: An analysis of a National Database. Objective: The objective of this study was to evaluate the rate of dysphagia for Parkinson disease (PD) patients undergoing cervical spine surgery for cervical myelopathy. Summary of Background Data: Cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) is an increasingly common problem in the aging population. Several surgical options exist to treat this condition including anterior, posterior and combined surgical approaches. Each approach carries its own set of postoperative complications. Little is known of the of outcomes after cervical spine surgery in PD. Materials and Methods: The National Inpatient sample was queried 1998 to 2016, all elective admissions with CSM were identified. Surgical treatments were identified as either: anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF), posterior laminectomies, posterior cervical fusion or combined anterior/posterior surgery. Preexisting PD was identified. Endpoints included mortality, length of stay (LOS), swallowing dysfunction measured by placement of feeding tube (NGT), and postprocedure pneumonia. Results: A total of 73,088 patients underwent surgical procedures for CSM during the study period. Of those, 552 patients (7.5%) had concomitant PD. The most common procedure was ACDF. Patients with PD had a higher rate of dysphagia (NGT placement) after surgery compared with those without PD (P<0.001). Multiple regression analysis showed that PD patients had a higher risk of having NGT placement or developing pneumonia [odds ratio 2.98 (1.7-5.2), P<0.001] after surgery. Patients with PD who underwent ACDF, posterior laminectomies or posterior cervical fusion had a longer LOS compared with those who did not have PD (P<0.001). There was no difference in LOS for patients who underwent combined anterior/posterior surgery. Inpatient mortality was higher in patients with PD who underwent ACDF or combined surgery (P<0.001). Conclusions: While ACDF is the most commonly performed procedure for CSM in patients with PD, it is associated with longer LOS, higher incidence of postoperative dysphagia, and postprocedural pneumonia, as well as higher inpatient mortality compared with posterior cervical procedures. Level of Evidence: Level III.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E26-E30
JournalClinical Spine Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2022


  • Parkinson disease
  • cervical myelopathy
  • cervical spine surgery
  • dysphagia
  • spine surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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