Cervical Spine Disease in Rheumatoid Arthritis: Incidence, Manifestations, and Therapy

Han Jo Kim, Venu M. Nemani, K. Daniel Riew, Richard Brasington

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Cervical spine involvement in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and other inflammatory arthropathies is common. While the radiographic features can be dramatic in untreated disease, patients may remain asymptomatic making treatment decisions challenging. Further, subtle clinical presentations can belie serious myelopathy because peripheral joint involvement can make interpreting the physical exam difficult. While new pharmacologic therapies have drastically reduced the morbidity of the widespread joint destruction that occurs in RA, patients remain at risk for symptomatic occipitocervical, atlantoaxial, or subaxial instability causing myelopathy, deformity, and premature death. In this review, we discuss the clinical presentation of RA patients with cervical spine disease as well as the indications and outcomes of surgical treatment.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent rheumatology reports
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2015


  • Cervical instability
  • Cervical spine
  • Inflammatory arthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis


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