Treatment approach in tandem (concurrent) cervical and lumbar spinal stenosis

Published online: Apr 27 2007

Mehmet Aydogan, Cagatay Ozturk, Cuneyt Mirzanli, Omer Karatoprak, Mehmet Tezer, Azmi Hamzaoglu

Florence Nightingale Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey


Spondylotic degeneration can manifest as tandem (concurrent) cervical and lumbar spinal stenosis. The primary manifestations include neurogenic claudication, gait disturbance and a mixture of findings of myelopathy and polyradiculopathy in both the upper and lower extremities. The purpose of this retrospective study was to report the existence and management of tandem (concurrent) cervical and lumbar spinal stenosis. Between 1998 and 2004, 8 patients (6 women and 2 men) were diagnosed with tandem spinal stenosis in a series of 230 patients who underwent surgery for spinal stenosis (3.4%). Three patients received cervical surgery first and 5 patients lumbar surgery first. The Japanese Orthopaedic Association Score of all patients improved from an average of 8.1 preoperatively to an average of 11.8 points at discharge and maintained an average of 12.7 points at final follow-up. Oswestry Disability Score improved from mean 58.1 to 29 at discharge and 19.3 at latest follow-up. All the patients had excellent or good results and none deteriorated neurologically. Although tandem spinal stenosis occurred relatively infrequently, we concluded that its possible presence should not be overlooked. The treatment plan must be designed according to the chief complaints and symptoms of the patient.