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Cervical disc herniation presenting with neck pain and contralateral symptoms: a case report

Jacky T Yeung1, John I Johnson2 and Aftab S Karim1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Surgery, Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, 500 Perry Road, Flint, MI, 48439, USA

2 Department of Radiology, Division of Anatomy, Michigan State University College of Human Medicine A519 East Fee Hall, 965 Fee Road, East Lansing, Michigan, 48824-1316

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Journal of Medical Case Reports 2012, 6:166  doi:10.1186/1752-1947-6-166

Published: 28 June 2012



Cervical disc herniation often results in neck and arm pain in patients as a result of direct impingement of nerve roots and associated inflammatory processes. The clinical presentation usually corresponds with the side of herniation and ipsilateral symptoms predominate the clinical picture.

Case presentation

A 35-year-old Caucasian man presented to our facility with neck pain and left-sided upper and lower extremity pain. A magnetic resonance imaging scan revealed a right paramedian herniated disc at the C5 to C6 level. All other cervical levels were normal without central canal stenosis or neural foraminal stenosis. Results from magnetic reasonance imaging scans of the brain and lumbar spine were negative. An anterior cervical discectomy was performed at the C5 to C6 level, and an inter-body graft and plate were placed. Our patient had complete resolution of his neck and left arm pain.


Anterior discectomy and fusion of the cervical spine resulted in complete resolution of our patient’s neck and left arm symptoms and improvement of his contralateral left leg pain. Cervical disc herniation may present with contralateral symptoms that are different from the current perception of this disease.

Cervical; Contralateral symptoms; Disc herniation; Radiculopathy