Hiroshi Miyamoto, Terumasa Ikeda, Masao Akagi

October 2023, Volume 32, Issue 10, pp 3505 - 3510 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-023-07890-3

First Online: 19 August 2023


Previous reports on the outcome of conservative treatment for dropped head syndrome (DHS) are scarce. The purpose of this study was to elucidate the efficacy of conservative treatment for DHS and to identify possible predictive factors relating to the outcome.


Among 76 DHS patients, conservative treatment (2–3 months collar application, active neck range of motion exercise, and occasional prescription of analgesics) succeeded in 17 patients (22.4%, group S, 4 male, 13 female, mean age 75.9 years). The treatment failed in the remaining 59 patients (group F). Clinical and radiological parameters were compared between the groups. Radiological findings of group S were compared between before treatment and at follow-up.


Duration of disease was 6.6 ± 9.3 months in group S and 20.0 ± 27.6 months in group F. C2-7 angle (degree), the incidence of anterior slippage of the vertebra (%), reducibility (%), and upper thoracic kyphosis angle (degree) in group S/F were − 19.2 ± 17.5/− 34.6 ± 26.6, 23.5/62.7, 100/52, and 6.7 ± 8.6/17.9 ± 13.7, respectively. C2-7 angles were − 19.2 ± 17.5 degrees at pre-treatment and 10.2 ± 20.7 degrees at follow-up. These differences were statistically significant.


The present study indicated that conservative treatment was successful in 22% of DHS patients, with improvement in their cervical kyphotic alignment. Shorter duration of disease, relatively smaller cervical kyphosis without anterior slippage of the vertebra, reducibility, and abundant compensation at the upper thoracic region were good indications for the success of conservative treatment.

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