Computer-aided design techniques were used to analyze the degree of spinal curvature shown on cervical spine radiograms of 28 patients. On films standardized as to size, a geometrical chord was constructed from the 2nd to the 7th cervical vertebrae (C2 to C7), and an arc was drawn along the posterior margin of the vertebrae. The resulting area was used as an index of curvature, and the spinal canal diameter was measured. Severity of myelopathy as well as clinical improvement was related to the geometrical data. There was no clear correlation between severity of the preoperative myelopathy and degree of curvature. Severe myelopathy was seen in association with straight, lordotic, and hyperlordotic spines. Neck pain was most severe in patients with reversed cervical curvature. The degree of curvature, however, seems to relate to the postoperative clinical outcome. Patients with relatively normal curvature showed the greatest improvement in symptoms and signs. Postoperative magnetic resonance scanning confirms that posterior migration of the spinal cord after laminectomy may be inadequate to clear osteophytes in patients with straightened or reversed curvature of the cervical spine. Spinal geometry should be considered in the selection of the best surgical procedure and the extent of laminectomy for patients with spondylotic myelopathy. Significant abnormalities of spinal curvature may account for some instances of poor outcome after laminectomy.