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Advances in Orthopedics
Volume 2012, Article ID 480643, 4 pages
Review Article

The Natural History and Clinical Presentation of Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy

Department of Neurosurgery, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA

Received 15 July 2011; Accepted 28 October 2011

Academic Editor: Joseph S. Butler

Copyright © 2012 Chester K. Yarbrough et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) refers to impaired function of the spinal cord caused by degenerative changes of the cervical spine resulting in spinal cord compression. It is the most common disorder in the United States causing dysfunction of the spinal cord. A literature review of the natural history of mild cervical myelopathy is undertaken. Clinical presentation and current concepts of pathophysiology are also discussed. While many patients with mild signs of CSM will stabilize or improve over time with conservative treatment, the clinical course of a specific individual patient cannot be predicted. Asymptomatic patients with cervical stenosis and abnormalities on electrophysiologic studies may be at higher risk for developing myelopathy.