Vol 45, No 6 (2011)

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Spinal cheiro-oral syndrome: a common neurological entity in an unusual site

Hung-Sheng Lin1, Hsin-Ling Yin2, Chi-Chui34, Chun-Chung Lui5, Wei-Hsi Chen14
DOI: 10.1016/S0028-3843(14)60126-2
Neurol Neurochir Pol 2011;45(6):583-589.


Background and purpose

Cheiro-oral syndrome (COS) is an established neurological entity characterized by a sensory impairment confined to the mouth angle and ipsilateral finger(s)/ hand. The current understanding of localization is a concomitant involvement of the spinothalamic and trigeminothalamic tract between the cortex and pons. The cervical spinal cord has not been mentioned in this situation yet, and this unusual location may heretofore increase the risk of misdiagnosis.

Material and methods

Six patients who presented with unilateral COS due to cervical cord disorder are reported.


All patients were women and their age ranged between 42 and 70 years. Their neurological deficits included unilateral paraesthesiae restricted to cheiro-oral distribution, positive radicular sign, and mild change of tendon reflex. Cervical spinal stenosis at middle/lower cervical spine with variable magnitude of cord compression and intrinsic cord damage was found. A diagnostic dilemma obviously arises from the lack of tangible neurological signs or typical pattern of myelopathy, in addition to the previous concept of cerebral involvement. A benign course ensued in all reported patients.


Cheiro-oral syndrome can be an early neurological sign for cervical cord disorder; it further suggests that it is a strong neurological but weak localizing sign. A reciprocal influence of multiple factors is considered to generate COS at the cervical cord. Therefore, an absence of brain pathology should lead to a thorough examination of the cervical cord in case of COS.

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Neurologia i Neurochirurgia Polska