Neurologic complications after irradiation of the cervical spinal cord for malignant tumour of the head and neck

Acta Radiologica: Therapy, Physics, Biology
U B Baekmark


A total of 165 patients with tumours of the head and neck were irradiated via fields including the entire cervical portion of the spinal cord. Eight patients (4.8 per cent) developed mild reversible signs of radiation myelitis. Only one of these cases was found among the 44 patients who received a dose to the spinal cord of over 5 000 rad via fields of less than 16 cm in length; 7 cases were patients with Hodgkin's disease who were given up to 3 700 rad via mantle fields. A survey of previous reports on transverse spinal lesions provoked by irradiation revealed a possibility of overdosage in several cases, and dose tolerance limits mentioned previously should accordingly be applied with caution.


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