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Postoperative Spine

Alignment of the operative and non-operative levels should both be assessed.

Familiarity with surgical intervention and hardware will aid in the assessment of normal post-operative appearance. 

Segments adjacent to surgical change should be assessed for early degenerative change.

Prevertebral soft tissue swelling may indicate hematoma and should decrease in size in the days following surgery.

Cervical Spine post-op

Example report:


  • Surgical changes of posterior instrumented fusion from  C3-C5 and anterior cervical discectomy and fusion from C5-C7.
  • No evidence of hardware loosening or failure.
  • Expected postoperative gas in the posterior soft tissues.
  • No prevertebral soft tissue swelling.


  • No postoperative complication.








“Update on Imaging of Spinal Fixation Hardware” Winegar et al.


“Imaging Current Spine Hardware: Part 1, Cervical Spine and Fracture Fixation” Petscavage-Thomas et al.