The acute onset of symptoms of severe cervical radiculo-myelopathy in four patients with athetoid-dystonic cerebral palsy is reported. Neurological and radiological examination showed that the spondylotic changes of the cervical spine were responsible for new neurological deficits leading to the patients being bedridden. Dystonic-athetoid neck movements may cause excessive axial neck rotation as well as flexion and extension movements of the spine. These repetitive exaggerated movements may result in early degenerative changes of the vertebrae which may enhance the radiculo-myelopathy. The four patients were treated with an anterior discectomy with interbody fusion. They were bedridden pre-operatively but all have since been able to walk with or without a cane. It is concluded that early anterior decompression with interbody fusion is a treatment of choice for cervical spondylotic radiculo-myelopathy in association with athetoid cerebral palsy.
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