COMPRESSION OF THE spinal cord by the degenerating cervical spine tends to lead to progressive clinical symptoms over a variable period of time. Surgical decompression can stop this process and lead to recovery of function. The choice of surgical technique depends on what is causing the compression of the spinal cord. This article reviews the symptoms and assessment for cervical spondylotic myelopathy (clinically evident compression of the spinal cord) and discusses the indications for decompression of the spinal cord anteriorly. Copyright © by the Congress of Neurological Surgeons.