Changes in swallowing after anterior cervical discectomy and fusion with instrumentation: A presurgical versus postsurgical videofluoroscopic comparison

Lydia Muss, Janina Wilmskoetter, Kerstin Richter, Constanze Fix, Soenke Stanschus, Tobias Pitzen, Joerg Drumm, Sonja Molfenter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to explore the impact of anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) with anterior instrumentation on swallowing function and physiology as measured on videofluoroscopic swallowing studies. Method: We retrospectively analyzed both functional measures (penetration-aspiration, residue) and physiological/ anatomical measures (hyoid excursion, posterior pharyngeal wall thickness) in a series of 17 patients (8 men, 9 women, mean age 54 years). These measures were extracted from calibrated 5-ml boluses of thin radio-opaque liquids on both pre-ACDF and post-ACDF videofluoroscopies, thus controlling for individual variation and protocol variation. Results: After ACDF surgery, we found significant within-subject worsening of Penetration-Aspiration Scale (Rosenbek, Robbins, Roecker, Coyle, & Wood, 1996) scores, vallecular (but not piriform sinus) residue, superior (but not anterior) hyoid excursion, and posterior pharyngeal wall thickness. Results are discussed in the context of previous literature. Conclusions: ACDF surgery can affect both physiological/ anatomical and functional measures of swallowing. Future research should expand to other biomechanical and temporal variables, as well as greater bolus volumes and a wider array of viscosities and textures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)785-793
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2017


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing

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