History of cervical spine surgery : from nihilism to advanced reconstructive surgery
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Spinal cord. - Edinburgh
, p. 809-814
University of Antwerp
Study design: Review of literature. Objectives: To review and analyze the evolution of cervical spine surgery from ancient times to current practice. The aim is to present an accessible overview, primarily intended for a broad readership. Methods: Descriptive literature review and analysis of the development of cervical spine surgery from the prehistoric era until today. Results: The first evidence for surgical treatment of spinal disorders dates back to approximately 1500 BC. Conservative approaches to treatment have been the hallmark for thousands of years, but over the past 50 years progress has been rapid. We illustrate how nations have added elements to this complex subject and how knowledge has surpassed borders and language barriers. Transferral of knowledge occurred from Babylon (Bagdad) to Old Egypt, to the Greek and Roman empires and finally via the Middle East (Bagdad and Damascus) back to Europe. Recent advances in the field of anesthesia, imaging and spinal instrumentation have changed long-standing nihilism in the treatment of cervical spine pathologies to the current practice of advanced reconstructive surgery of the cervical spine. A critical approach to the evaluation of benefits and complications of these advanced surgical techniques for treatment of cervical spine disorders is required. Conclusion: Advances in surgery now permit full mechanical reconstruction of the cervical spine. However, despite substantial experimental progress, spinal cord repair and restoration of lost functions remain a challenge. Modern surgeons are still looking for the best way to manage spine disorders.