The safety and efficacy of anterior versus posterior decompression surgery in degenerative cervical myelopathy: a prospective randomized trial

J Neurosurg Spine 33:288–296, 2020

The safety and efficacy of anterior and posterior decompression surgery in degenerative cervical myelopathy (DCM) have not been validated in any prospective randomized trial.

METHODS In this first prospective randomized trial, the patients who had symptoms or signs of DCM were randomly assigned to undergo either anterior cervical discectomy and fusion or posterior laminectomy with or without fusion. The primary outcome measures were the change in the visual analog scale (VAS) score, Neck Disability Index (NDI), and Nurick myelopathy grade 1 year after surgery. The secondary outcome measures were intraoperative and postoperative complications, hospital stay, and Odom’s criteria. The follow-up period was at least 1 year.

RESULTS A total of 68 patients (mean age 53 ± 8.3 years, 72.3% men) underwent prospective randomization. There was a significantly better outcome in the NDI and VAS scores in the anterior group at 1 year (p < 0.05). Nurick myelopathy grading showed nonsignificant improvement using the posterior approach group (p = 0.79). The mean operative duration was significantly longer in the anterior group (p < 0.001). No significant difference in postoperative complications was found, except postoperative dysphagia was significantly higher in the anterior group (p < 0.05). There was no significant difference in postoperative patient satisfaction (Odom’s criteria) (p = 0.52). The mean hospital stay was significantly longer in the posterior group (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS Among patients with multilevel DCM, the anterior approach was significantly better regarding postoperative pain, NDI, and hospital stay, while the posterior approach was significantly better in terms of postoperative dysphagia and operative duration.

Cervical laminoplasty developments and trends, 2003–2013: a systematic review

Laminoplasty

J Neurosurg Spine 23:24–34, 2015

Despite extensive clinical experience with laminoplasty, the efficacy of the procedure and its advantages over laminectomy remain unclear. Specific clinical elements, such as incidence or progression of kyphosis, incidence of axial neck pain, postoperative cervical range of motion, and incidence of postoperative C-5 palsies, are of concern. The authors sought to comprehensively review the laminoplasty literature over the past 10 years while focusing on these clinical elements.

Methods The authors conducted a literature search of articles in the Medline database published between 2003 and 2013, in which the terms “laminoplasty,” “laminectomy,” and “posterior cervical spine procedures” were used as key words. Included was every single case series in which patient outcomes after a laminoplasty procedure were reported. Excluded were studies that did not report on at least one of the above-mentioned items.

Results A total of 103 studies, the results of which contained at least 1 of the prespecified outcome variables, were identified. These studies reported 130 patient groups comprising 8949 patients. There were 3 prospective randomized studies, 1 prospective nonrandomized alternating study, 15 prospective nonrandomized data collections, and 84 retrospective reviews. The review revealed a trend for the use of miniplates or hydroxyapatite spacers on the open side in Hirabayashi-type laminoplasty or on the open side in a Kurokawa-type laminoplasty. Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) scoring was reported most commonly; in the 4949 patients for whom a JOA score was reported, there was improvement from a mean (± SD) score of 9.91 (± 1.65) to a score of 13.68 (± 1.05) after a mean follow-up of 44.18 months (± 35.1 months). The mean preoperative and postoperative C2–7 angles (available for 2470 patients) remained stable from 14.17° (± 0.19°) to 13.98° (± 0.19°) of lordosis (average follow-up 39 months). The authors found significantly decreased kyphosis when muscle/posterior element–sparing techniques were used (p = 0.02). The use of hardware in the form of hydroxyapatite spacers or miniplates did not influence the progression of deformity (p = 0.889). An overall mean (calculated from 2390 patients) of 47.3% loss of range of motion was reported. For the studies that used a visual analog scale score (totaling 986 patients), the mean (cohort size–adjusted) postoperative pain level at a mean follow-up of 29 months was 2.78. For the studies that used percentages of patients who complained of postoperative axial neck pain (totaling 1249 patients), the mean patient number–adjusted percentage was 30% at a mean follow-up of 51 months. The authors found that 16% of the studies that were published in the last 10 years reported a C-5 palsy rate of more than 10% (534 patients), 41% of the studies reported a rate of 5%–10% (n = 1006), 23% of the studies reported a rate of 1%–5% (n = 857), and 12.5% reported a rate of 0% (n = 168).

Conclusions Laminoplasty remains a valid option for decompression of the spinal cord. An understanding of the importance of the muscle-ligament complex, plus the introduction of hardware, has led to progress in this type of surgery. Reporting of outcome metrics remains variable, which makes comparisons among the techniques difficult.

Cervical Laminectomy vs Laminoplasty: Is There a Difference in Outcome and Postoperative Pain?

Neurosurgery 70:965–970, 2012 DOI: 10.1227/NEU.0b013e31823cf16b 

Cervical laminoplasty is often used for the decompression of multilevel cervical spondylotic myelopathy without creating spinal instability and kyphosis.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the axial pain, quality of life, sagittal alignment, and extent of decompression after standard cervical laminectomy or laminoplasty. We further evaluate whether the sagittal alignment changes over time after both procedures and whether axial pain depends on sagittal alignment.

METHODS: We reviewed 268 patients with cervical radiculopathy or myelopathy who had undergone standard cervical laminectomy or laminoplasty between January 1999 and January 2009. The clinical outcome was analyzed by visual analog scale for neck pain. The quality of life was analyzed by EQ-5D questionnaire. The degree of deformity and extent of decompression were assessed using the Ishihara index and Pavlov’s ratio, respectively.

RESULTS: Laminoplasty was associated with more neck pain and worse quality of life when 4 or more levels were decompressed compared with the laminectomy group. For operations of 3 or fewer levels, there was no difference. Interestingly, the radiological effectiveness of decompression was greater in the laminoplasty group.

CONCLUSION: Laminoplasty for 4 or more cervical levels was associated with more axial pain and consequently poorer quality of life than laminectomy. There was a similar loss of sagittal alignment in both the laminectomy and laminoplasty groups over time. Our results suggest there is no clear benefit of laminoplasty over laminectomy in patients who do not have spinal instability.