Algorithmic selection of cervical deformity surgery

An algorithmic strategy for selecting a surgical approach in cervical deformity correction

Neurosurg Focus 36 (5):E5, 2014

Adult degenerative cervical kyphosis is a debilitating disease that often requires complex surgical management. Young spine surgeons, residents, and fellows are often confused as to which surgical approach to choose due to lack of experience, absence of a systematic method of surgical management, and today’s plethora of information regarding surgical techniques. Although surgeons may be able to perform anterior, posterior, or combined (360°) approaches to the cervical spine, many struggle to rationally choose an appropriate approach for deformity correction.

The authors introduce an algorithm based on morphology and pathology of adult cervical kyphosis to help the surgeon select the appropriate approach when performing cervical deformity surgery.

Cervical deformities are categorized into 5 different prevalent morphological types encountered in clinical settings. A surgical approach tailored to each category/ type of deformity is then discussed, with a concrete case illustration provided for each.

Preoperative assessment of kyphosis, determination of the goal for surgery, and the complications associated with cervical deformity correction are also summarized. This article’s goal is to assist with understanding the big picture for surgical management in cervical spinal deformity.