Spinal surgery achondroplasia

Achondroplasia is a genetic condition in which the growth of bones is hampered. This leads to shorter bones in the extremities and a shorter stature. The bones of the spinal column are also shaped differently, giving less space for the neural tissue. Therefore, people with achondroplasia encounter problems with their spine more often. This is due to a smaller vertebral canals, which increases the risk of the spinal cord or the cauda equina getting compressed. Upon aging and ongoing degeneration of the spine, the vertebral canal usually gets compromised. In achondroplasia this phenomenon is even more often occurring due to the anatomy described here. Sometimes young people with achondroplasia encounter spinal problems in an earlier stage.


Compression on the nervous tissue occurs most frequently in the lower back, concerning the cauda equina. This leads to pain in the legs upon walking and standing. This is called neurogenic claudication. This phenomenon also occurs in non-achondroplasts, because this is a normal phenomenon that occurs upon ageing. However, in achondroplasts it occurs more often due to the deviating anatomy.

Compression on the nervous tissue in the neck results in complaints that can be ascribed to compression on the cervical spinal cord. This can lead to:

  • Numbness in arms
  • Problems with coordination in arms and/or legs
  • Incontinence or micturition problems


Spinal surgery is usually offered to relieve complaints.

Within UNCH LUMC is specialised in diagnosing and treating spinal problems in people with achondroplasia. For more information please visit the LUMC website.

Ons advies