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Ankylosing Spondylitis, Neurologic Perspective (cont.)

What Are Potential Neurological Complications of Ankylosing Spondylitis?

Patient Comments

Neurological complications include C1-C2 subluxation (partial displacement of the first and second cervical vertebrae), a tendency for spinal fractures with minor trauma, spinal stenosis (narrowing) in the cervical (neck) or lumbar (low back) regions, chronic inflammatory cauda equina (compression of the low back nerve roots that causes paralysis and cuts off sensation to the legs), and radiculopathy (shooting pain caused by pressure on the nerves) secondary to fracture or compression of the nerve roots.

Ankylosing Spondylitis Surgery

Surgical treatment may be necessary for some complications of ankylosing spondylitis.

  • Surgical fusion may be required to stabilize a dislocation of the first two cervical vertebrae (atlantoaxial subluxation).
  • Cervical spine fractures require rigid immobilization, in such situations, surgical fusion is usually not required.
  • Surgery is rarely indicated for correction of uncomplicated thoracic kyphosis (excessive curvature of the upper part of the spine, resulting in hunchback).
  • Thoracolumbar fractures require reduction of displacement and stabilization, usually with rods. Laminectomy (a surgery to remove part of the lamina of the vertebral body) is rarely needed.
  • Decompression of cervical or lumbar spinal stenosis is performed when nerves are compressed.
  • If weight-bearing joints are involved, hip or knee replacement may be necessary.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/11/2017

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The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Ankylosing Spondylitis, Neurologic Perspective:

Ankylosing Spondylitis, Neurologic Perspective - Complications

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