Usefulness and reliability of neurological signs for level diagnosis in cervical myelopathy caused by soft disc herniation

Morio Matsumoto, Yoshikazu Fujimura, Yoshiaki Toyama

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We retrospectively analyzed neurological signs of 106 patients with cervical myelopathy caused by single-level soft disc herniation. Neurological signs that were intensively analyzed were deep tendon reflexes, the uppermost level of impaired pinprick sensation, the uppermost weak muscle, and region of numbness in the bands. Characteristic signs for each intervertebral level were deduced, and sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of these signs were calculated. Deep tendon reflexes were specific signs for each intervertebral level, although not as sensitive as the neurological signs. Muscle weakness and pinprick sensation were neither sensitive nor specific. Hand numbness was moderately sensitive and specific. On the whole, there was no neurological sign that was both highly sensitive and specific for an intervertebral level, and therefore, neurological level diagnosis in cervical myelopathy should be performed comprehensively according to more specific signs, i.e., deep tendon reflexes and hand numbness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-321
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Spinal Disorders
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1996 Sep 22



  • Cervical myelopathy
  • Neurological level diagnosis
  • Soft disc herniation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology

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