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01.12.2017 | Case report | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 1/2017

Screw migration and oesophageal perforation after surgery for osteosarcoma of the cervical spine

BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders > Ausgabe 1/2017
Luca Denaro, Umile Giuseppe Longo, Alberto Corrado Di Martino, Nicola Maffulli, Vincenzo Denaro



Even though internal fixation has expanded the indications for cervical spine surgery, it carries the risks of fracture or migration, with associated potential life threatening complications. Removal of metal work from the cervical spine is required in case of failure of internal fixation, but it can become challenging, especially when a great amount of scar tissue is present because of previous surgery and radiotherapy.

Case presentation

We report a 16 year old competitive basketball athlete who underwent a combined anterior and posterior approach for resection of an osteosarcoma of the sixth cervical vertebra. Fourteen years after the index procedure, the patient eliminated spontaneously one screw through the intestinal tract via an oesophageal perforation and developed a severe dysphagia. Three revision surgeries were performed to remove the anterior plate because of the great amount of post-surgery and post-irradiation fibrosis.


Screw migration and oesophageal perforation after cervical spine surgery are uncommon potentially life-threatening occurrences. Revision surgery may be challenging and it requires special skills.
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