Surgical Treatment of Diffuse Idiopathic Skeletal Hyperostosis (DISH) Involving the Cervical Spine: Technical Nuances and Outcome of a Multicenter Experience

Giorgio Lofrese, Alba Scerrati, Massimo Balsano, Roberto Bassani, Michele Cappuccio, Michele A. Cavallo, Fabio Cofano, Francesco Cultrera, Federico De Iure, Francesco Di Biase, Roberto Donati, Diego Garbossa, Marta Menegatti, Alessandro Olivi, Giorgio Palandri, Antonino Raco, Luca Ricciardi, Giannantonio Spena, Luigino Tosatto, Jacopo VisaniMassimiliano Visocchi, Gianluigi Zona, Pasquale De Bonis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Study Design: Retrospective multicenter. Objectives: diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH) involving the cervical spine is a rare condition determining disabling aero-digestive symptoms. We analyzed impact of preoperative settings and intraoperative techniques on outcome of patients undergoing surgery for DISH. Methods: Patients with DISH needing for anterior cervical osteophytectomy were collected. Swallow studies and endoscopy supported imaging in targeting bone decompression. Patients characteristics, clinico-radiological presentation, outcome and surgical strategies were recorded. Impact on clinical outcome of duration and time to surgery and different surgical techniques was evaluated through ANOVA. Results: 24 patients underwent surgery. No correlation was noted between specific spinal levels affected by DISH and severity of pre-operative dysphagia. A trend toward a full clinical improvement was noted preferring the chisel (P = 0.12) to the burr (P = 0.65), and whenever C2-C3 was decompressed, whether hyperostosis included that level (P = 0.15). Use of curved chisel reduced the surgical times (P = 0.02) and, together with the nasogastric tube, the risk of complications, while bone removal involving 3 levels or more (P = 0.04) and shorter waiting times for surgery (P < 0.001) positively influenced a complete swallowing recovery. Early decompressions were preferred, resulting in 66.6% of patients reporting disappearance of symptoms within 7 days. One and two recurrences respectively at clinical and radiological follow-up were registered 18-30 months after surgery. Conclusion: The “age of DISH” counts more than patients’ age with timeliness of decompression being crucial in determining clinical outcome even with a preoperative mild dysphagia. Targeted bone resections could be reasonable in elderly patients, while in younger ones more extended decompressions should be preferred.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)N/A-N/A
JournalGlobal Spine Journal
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • DISH
  • Forestier syndrome
  • cervical hyperostosis
  • dysphagia
  • dysphonia
  • osteophytecomy


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