Asian Spine J.  2016 Aug;10(4):755-761. 10.4184/asj.2016.10.4.755.

Clinical Presentation of Cervical Myelopathy at C1-2 Level

  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Sapporo Medical University School of Medicine, Sapporo, Japan.


STUDY DESIGN: Single-center retrospective study. PURPOSE: To clarify the clinical features of cervical myelopathy at the C1-2 level. OVERVIEW OF LITERATURE: Methods for distinguishing the affected level based on myelomere symptoms or dysfunction of the conducting pathway were established. However, no symptoms have been identified as being specific to the C1-2 level segment.
We evaluated 24 patients with cervical myelopathy due to spinal cord compression at the C1-2 level. Preoperative neurological assessment were investigated and compared with the rate and site of compression of the spinal cord using computed tomography-myelography.
Impaired temperature and pain sensation were confirmed in 18 of the 24 patients with that localized to the upper arms (n=3), forearm (n=9), both (n=2), and whole body (n=4). Muscle weakness was observed in 18 patients, muscle weakness extended from the biceps brachii to the abductor digiti minimi in 10 patients, and in the whole body in 8 patients. Deep tendon reflexes were normal in 10 patients, whereas hyperactive deep tendon reflexes were noted in 14 patients. The rate of spinal cord compression was significantly higher in patients with perceptual dysfunction and muscle weakness compared with those with no dysfunction. However, no significant difference in the rate and site of compression was identified in those with dysfunction.
Perceptual dysfunction and muscle weakness localized to the upper limbs was observed in 58% and 42% of patients, respectively. Neurological abnormalities, such as perceptual dysfunction and muscle weakness, were visualized in patients with marked compression.


Cervical spine; Myelopathy; Atlantoaxial joint; False localizing sign; Spondyloarthropathy

MeSH Terms

Atlanto-Axial Joint
Muscle Weakness
Reflex, Stretch
Retrospective Studies
Spinal Cord
Spinal Cord Compression
Spinal Cord Diseases*
Upper Extremity
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