Three-level ACDF versus 3-level laminectomy and fusion: are there differences in outcomes?

Neurosurg Focus 55(3):E2, 2023

OBJECTIVE The authors sought to compare 3-level anterior with posterior fusion surgical procedures for the treatment of multilevel cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM).

METHODS The authors analyzed prospective data from the 14 highest enrolling sites of the Quality Outcomes Database CSM module. They compared 3-level anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) and posterior cervical laminectomy and fusion (PCF) surgical procedures, excluding surgical procedures crossing the cervicothoracic junction. Rates of reaching the minimal clinically important difference (MCID) in patient-reported outcomes (PROs) were compared at 24 months postoperatively. Multivariable analyses adjusted for potential confounders elucidated in univariable analysis.

RESULTS Overall, 199 patients met the inclusion criteria: 123 ACDF (61.8%) and 76 PCF (38.2%) patients. The 24-month follow-up rates were similar (ACDF 90.2% vs PCF 92.1%, p = 0.67). Preoperatively, ACDF patients were younger (60.8 ± 10.2 vs 65.0 ± 10.3 years, p < 0.01), and greater proportions were privately insured (56.1% vs 36.8%, p= 0.02), actively employed (39.8% vs 22.8%, p = 0.04), and independently ambulatory (14.6% vs 31.6%, p < 0.01). Otherwise, the cohorts had equivalent baseline modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association (mJOA), Neck Disability Index (NDI), numeric rating scale (NRS)–arm pain, NRS–neck pain, and EQ-5D scores (p > 0.05). ACDF patients had reduced hospitalization length (1.6 vs 3.9 days, p < 0.01) and a greater proportion had nonroutine discharge (7.3% vs 22.8%, p < 0.01), but they had a higher rate of postoperative dysphagia (13.5% vs 3.5%, p = 0.049). Compared with baseline values, both groups demonstrated improvements in all outcomes at 24 months (p < 0.05). In multivariable analyses, after controlling for age, insurance payor, employment status, ambulation status, and other potential clinically relevant confounders, ACDF was associated with a greater proportion of patients with maximum satisfaction on the North American Spine Society Patient Satisfaction Index (NASS) (NASS score of 1) at 24 months (69.4% vs 53.7%, OR 2.44, 95% CI 1.17–5.09, adjusted p = 0.02). Otherwise, the cohorts shared similar 24-month outcomes in terms of reaching the MCID for mJOA, NDI, NRS–arm pain, NRS–neck pain, and EQ-5D score (adjusted p > 0.05). There were no differences in the 3-month readmission (ACDF 4.1% vs PCF 3.9%, p = 0.97) and 24-month reoperation (ACDF 13.5% vs PCF 18.6%, p = 0.36) rates.

CONCLUSIONS In a cohort limited to 3-level fusion surgical procedures, ACDF was associated with reduced blood loss, shorter hospitalization length, and higher routine home discharge rates; however, PCF resulted in lower rates of postoperative dysphagia. The procedures yielded comparably significant improvements in functional status (mJOA score), neck and arm pain, neck pain–related disability, and quality of life at 3, 12, and 24 months. ACDF patients had significantly higher odds of maximum satisfaction (NASS score 1). Given comparable outcomes, patients should be counseled on each approach’s complication profile to aid in surgical decision-making.

Predictors for cervical kyphotic deformity following laminoplasty: a systematic review and meta-analysis

J Neurosurg Spine 38:4–13, 2023

Laminoplasty is a common treatment for cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) and for ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL). However, approximately 21% of patients undergoing laminoplasty develop cervical kyphotic deformity (KD). Because of the high prevalence rate of KD, several studies have sought to identify predictors for this complication, but the findings remain highly inconsistent. Therefore, the authors performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to establish reliable preoperative predictors of KD.

METHODS PubMed, Scopus, and Web of Science databases were used to systematically extract potential references. The first phase of screening required the studies to be written in the English language, involve patients treated for CSM and/or OPLL via laminoplasty, and report postoperative cervical KD. The second phase required the studies to provide more than 10 patients and include a control group. The mean difference (MD) and odds ratio (OR) were calculated for continuous and dichotomous parameters. Study quality was evaluated using the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale. CSM and OPLL patients were further assessed by performing subgroup analyses.

RESULTS Thirteen studies comprising patients who developed cervical KD (n = 296) and no KD (n = 1254) after receiving cervical laminoplasty for CSM or OPLL were included in the meta-analysis. All studies were retrospective cohorts and were rated as high quality. In the combined univariate analysis of CSM and OPLL patients undergoing laminoplasty, statistically significant predictors for postoperative KD included age (MD 2.22, 95% CI 0.16–4.27, p = 0.03), preoperative BMI (MD 0.85, 95% CI 0.06–1.63, p = 0.04), preoperative C2–7 range of flexion (MD 10.42, 95% Cl 4.24–16.59, p = 0.0009), preoperative C2–7 range of extension (MD −4.59, 95% CI −6.34 to −2.83, p < 0.00001), and preoperative center of gravity of the head to the C7 sagittal vertical axis (MD 26.83, 95% CI 9.13–44.52, p = 0.003). Additionally, among CSM patients, males were identified as having a greater risk for postoperative KD (OR 1.73, 95% CI 1.02–2.93, p = 0.04).

CONCLUSIONS The findings from this study currently provide the largest and most reliable review on preoperative predictors for cervical KD after laminoplasty. Given that several of the included studies identified optimal cutoff points for the variables that are significantly associated with KD, further investigation into the development of a preoperative risk scoring system that can accurately predict KD in the clinical setting is encouraged.

Comparison of anterior cervical discectomy and fusion versus artificial disc replacement for cervical spondylotic myelopathy: a meta-analysis

J Neurosurg Spine 37:569–578, 2022

Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) has long been regarded as a gold standard in the treatment of cervical myelopathy. Subsequently, cervical artificial disc replacement (c-ADR) was developed and provides the advantage of motion preservation at the level of the intervertebral disc surgical site, which may also reduce stress at adjacent levels. The goal of this study was to compare clinical and functional outcomes in patients undergoing ACDF with those in patients undergoing c-ADR for cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM).

METHODS A systematic literature review and meta-analysis were performed using the Embase, PubMed, and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials databases from database inception to November 21, 2021. The authors compared Neck Disability Index (NDI), SF-36, and Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) scores; complication rates; and reoperation rates for these two surgical procedures in CSM patients. The Mantel-Haenszel method and varianceweighted means were used to analyze outcomes after identifying articles that met study inclusion criteria.

RESULTS More surgical time was consumed in the c-ADR surgery (p = 0.04). Shorter hospital stays were noted in patients who had undergone c-ADR (p = 0.04). Patients who had undergone c-ADR tended to have better NDI scores (p = 0.02) and SF-36 scores (p = 0.001). Comparable outcomes in terms of JOA scores (p = 0.24) and neurological success rate (p = 0.12) were noted after the surgery. There was no significant between-group difference in the overall complication rates (c-ADR: 18% vs ACDF: 25%, p = 0.17). However, patients in the ACDF group had a higher reoperation rate than patients in the c-ADR group (4.6% vs 1.5%, p = 0.02).

CONCLUSIONS At the midterm follow-up after treatment of CSM, better functional outcomes as reflected by NDI and SF-36 scores were noted in the c-ADR group than those in the ACDF group. c-ADR had the advantage of retaining range of motion at the level of the intervertebral disc surgical site without causing more complications. A large sample size with long-term follow-up studies may be required to confirm these findings in the future.

Long-term functional outcome of surgical treatment for degenerative cervical myelopathy

J Neurosurg Spine 36:830–840, 2022

Degenerative cervical myelopathy (DCM) is a major global cause of spinal cord dysfunction. Surgical treatment is considered a safe and effective way to improve functional outcome, although information about long-term functional outcome remains scarce despite increasing longevity. The objective of this study was to describe functional outcome 10 years after surgery for DCM.

METHODS A prospective observational cohort study was undertaken in a university-affiliated neurosurgery department. All patients who underwent surgery for DCM between 2008 and 2010 as part of the multicenter Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy International trial were included. Participants were approached for additional virtual assessment 10 years after surgery. Functional outcome was assessed according to the modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association (mJOA; scores 0–18) score at baseline and 1, 2, and 10 years after surgery. The minimal clinically important difference was defined as 1-, 2-, or 3-point improvement for mild, moderate, and severe myelopathy, respectively. Outcome was considered durable when stabilization or improvement after 2 years was maintained at 10 years. Self-evaluated effect of surgery was assessed using a 4-point Likert-like scale. Demographic, clinical, and surgical data were compared between groups that worsened and improved or remained stable using descriptive statistics. Functional outcome was compared between various time points during follow-up with linear mixed models.

RESULTS Of the 42 originally included patients, 37 participated at follow-up (11.9% loss to follow-up, 100% response rate). The mean patient age was 56.1 years, and 42.9% of patients were female. Surgical approaches were anterior (76.2%), posterior (21.4%), or posterior with fusion (2.4%). The mean follow-up was 10.8 years (range 10–12 years). The mean mJOA score increased significantly from 13.1 (SD 2.3) at baseline to 14.2 (SD 3.3) at 10 years (p = 0.01). A minimal clinically important difference was achieved in 54.1%, and stabilization of functional status was maintained in 75.0% in the long term. Patients who worsened were older (median 63 vs 52 years, p < 0.01) and had more comorbidities (70.0% vs 25.9%, p < 0.01). A beneficial effect of surgery was self-reported by 78.3% of patients.

CONCLUSIONS Surgical treatment for DCM results in satisfactory improvement of functional outcome that is maintained at 10-year follow-up.

Gap between flexion and extension ranges of motion: a novel indicator to predict the loss of cervical lordosis after laminoplasty in patients with cervical spondylotic myelopathy

J Neurosurg Spine 35:8–17, 2021

Kyphotic deformity resulting from the loss of cervical lordosis (CL) is a rare but serious complication after cervical laminoplasty (CLP), and it is essential to recognize the risk factors. Previous studies have demonstrated that a greater flexion range of motion (fROM) and smaller extension ROM (eROM) in the cervical spine are associated with the loss of CL after CLP. Considering these facts together, one can hypothesize that an indicator representing the gap between fROM and eROM (gROM) is highly useful in predicting postoperative CL loss. In the present study, the authors aimed to investigate the risk factors of marked CL loss after CLP for cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM), including the gROM as a potential predictor.

METHODS Patients who had undergone CLP for CSM were divided into those with and those without a loss of more than 10° in the sagittal Cobb angle between C2 and C7 at the final follow-up period compared to preoperative measurements (CL loss [CLL] group and no CLL [NCLL] group, respectively). Demographic characteristics, surgical information, preoperative radiographic measurements, and posterior paraspinal muscle morphology evaluated with MRI were compared between the two groups. fROM and eROM were examined on neutral and flexion-extension views of lateral radiography, and gROM was calculated using the following formula: gROM (°) = fROM − eROM. The performance of variables in discriminating between the CLL and NCLL groups was assessed using the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve.

RESULTS This study included 111 patients (mean age at surgery 68.3 years, 61.3% male), with 10 and 101 patients in the CLL and NCLL groups, respectively. Univariate analyses showed that fROM and gROM were significantly greater in the CLL group than in the NCLL group (40.2° vs 26.6°, p < 0.001; 31.6° vs 14.3°, p < 0.001, respectively). ROC curve analyses revealed that both fROM and gROM had excellent discriminating capacities; gROM was likely to have a higher area under the ROC curve than fROM (0.906 vs 0.860, p = 0.094), with an optimal cutoff value of 27°.

CONCLUSIONS The gROM is a highly useful indicator for predicting a marked loss of CL after CLP. For CSM patients with a preoperative gROM exceeding 30°, CLP should be carefully considered, since kyphotic changes can develop postoperatively.

Crossing the Cervicothoracic Junction During Posterior Cervical Fusion for Myelopathy Is AssociatedWith Superior Radiographic Parameters But Similar Clinical Outcomes

Neurosurgery 2020 DOI:10.1093/neuros/nyaa241

For laminectomy and posterior spinal fusion (LPSF) surgery for cervical spondyloticmyelopathy (CSM), the evidence is unclear as to whether fusions should cross the cervicothoracic junction (CTJ). OBJECTIVE: To compare LPSF outcomes between those with and without lower instrumented vertebrae (LIV) crossing the CTJ.

METHODS: A consecutive series of adults undergoing LPSF for CSM from 2012 to 2018 with a minimum of 12-mo follow-up were identified. LPSF with subaxial upper instrumented vertebrae and LIV between C6 and T2 were included. Clinical and radiographic outcomes were compared.

RESULTS: A total of 79 patients were included: 46 crossed the CTJ (crossed-CTJ) and 33 did not. The mean follow-up was 22.2 mo (minimum: 12 mo). Crossed-CTJ had higher preoperative C2-7 sagittal vertical axis (cSVA) (33.3 ± 16.0 vs 23.8 ± 12.4 mm, P = .01) but similar preoperative cervical lordosis (CL) and CL minus T1-slope (CL minus T1-slope) (P > .05, both comparisons). The overall reoperation rate was 3.8% (crossed-CTJ: 2.2% vs notcrossed: 6.1%, P=.37). In adjusted analyses, crossed-CTJ was associated with superior cSVA (β = –9.7; P = .002), CL (β = 6.2; P = .04), and CL minus T1-slope (β = –6.6; P = .04), but longer operative times (β = 46.3; P = .001). Crossed- and not-crossed CTJ achieved similar postoperative patient-reported outcomes [Visual Analog Scale (VAS) neck pain, VAS arm pain, Nurick Grade, Modified Japanese Orthopedic Association Scale, Neck Disability Index, and EuroQol-5D] in adjusted multivariable analyses (adjusted P > .05). For the entire cohort, higher postoperative CL was associated with lower postoperative arm pain (adjusted Pearson’s r –0.1, P=.02). No postoperative cervical radiographic parameters were associated with neck pain (P > .05).

CONCLUSION: Subaxial LPSF for CSM that crossed the CTJ were associated with superior radiographic outcomes for cSVA, CL, and CL minus T1-slope, but longer operative times. There were no differences in neck pain or reoperation rate.


Volumetric analysis of bilateral spinal canal decompression via hemilaminectomy versus laminoplasty in cervical spondylotic myelopathy

Acta Neurochirurgica (2020) 162:2069–2074

Cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) is a degenerative process of the cervical spine requiring surgical decompression to prevent neurological deterioration. While both anterior and posterior approaches yield satisfactory results, posterior decompression is preferred in cases of the multilevel disease. In 2015, we described a muscle-sparing, novel technique of bilateral osteoligamentous decompression via hemilaminectomy (OLD) for CSM. In this study, we investigate whether this technique offers comparable volumetric results to laminoplasty in terms of spinal canal enlargement and whether this technique can yield significant clinical improvement.

Methods Patients undergoing OLD due to CSM were prospectively enrolled in this study and then matched to and compared with a historic cohort of patients with CSM treated by laminoplasty. An independent sample t test was performed to analyze whether the volumetric gain in the two separate groups was statistically significant. Patients in the OLD cohort were clinically evaluated with the mJOA score preoperatively and 3 months postoperatively. To assess clinical improvement, a paired sample t test was performed.

Results A total of 38 patients were included in the analysis: 19 underwent OLD and 19 underwent laminoplasty. Both groups were well matched in terms of sex, age, preoperative spinal canal volume, and involved levels. Both surgical methods yielded statistically significant volumetric gain in the cervical spinal canal, but a trend towards a greater volume gain was seen in the OLD group. In the OLD group, a statistically significant clinical improvement was also demonstrated.

Conclusions Our study reveals that OLD can yield a comparable extent of decompression to laminoplasty in CSM while also delivering statistically significant clinical improvement.

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.

Predicting Outcomes After Surgical Decompression for Mild Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy

Neurosurgery, Volume 86, Issue 4, April 2020 :565–573

Patients with mild degenerative cervical myelopathy (DCM) represent a heterogeneous population, and indications for surgical decompression remain controversial.

OBJECTIVE: To dissociate patient phenotypes within the broader population of mild DCM associated with degree of impairment in baseline quality of life (QOL) and surgical outcomes.

METHODS: This was a post hoc analysis of patients with mild DCM (modified Japanese Orthopedic Association [mJOA] 15-17) enrolled in the AOSpine CSM-NA/CSM-I studies. A kmeans clustering algorithm was applied to baseline QOL (Short Form-36 [SF-36]) scores to separate patients into 2 clusters. Baseline variables and surgical outcomes (change in SF- 36 scores at 1 yr) were compared between clusters. A k-nearest neighbors (kNN) algorithm was used to evaluate the ability to classify patients into the 2 clusters by significant baseline clinical variables.

RESULTS: One hundred eighty-five patients were eligible. Two groups were generated by k-means clustering. Cluster 1 had a greater proportion of females (44% vs 28%, P = .029) and symptoms of neck pain (32% vs 11%, P = .001), gait difficulty (57% vs 40%, P = .025), or weakness (75% vs 59%, P=.041). Although baseline mJOA correlated with neither baseline QOL nor outcomes, cluster 1 was associated with significantly greater improvement in disability (P = .003) and QOL (P < .001) scores following surgery. A kNN algorithm could predict cluster classification with 71% accuracy by neck pain, motor symptoms, and gender alone.

CONCLUSION: We have dissociated a distinct patient phenotype of mild DCM, characterized by neck pain, motor symptoms, and female gender associated with greater impairment in QOL and greater response to surgery.

Modified Laminoplasty Preserving the Posterior Deep Extensor Insertion into C2 Improves Clinical and Radiologic Results Compared with Conventional Laminoplasty: A Meta-Analysis

World Neurosurg. (2018) 111:157-165

Whether modified laminoplasty is better than conventional laminoplasty is unclear. Thus, a meta-analysis comparing the outcomes of preserving or repairing the posterior deep extensor insertion to C2 in laminoplasty was conducted for patients with multilevel cervical spondylotic myelopathy (MCSM).

METHODS: Several electronic databases were chosen to search for relevant studies. The primary indices included preoperative and postoperative Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) scores, JOA recovery rate, muscle atrophy rate, preoperative and postoperative range of motion (ROM), ROM decrease rate, and incidence of axial pain. Results are expressed as odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals for the dichotomous outcomes and mean differences for continuous outcomes.

RESULTS: Eight studies involving 763 patients were included in this study. The postoperative cervical ROM was significantly higher in the modified group (P [ 0.01, MD [ 3.0 [0.66, 5.35]), as was the cervical posterior muscle volume (P [ 0.02, MD [ 28.28 [4.42, 52.3]) and the operation time (MD [ L45.04, 95% CI L49.79, L40.29; P < 0.01). The incidence of axial symptoms in the modified group was lower than that in the conventional group (P < 0.01, OR 0.28 [0.17, 0.46]), as was the rate of decrease of cervical ROM (P [ 0.004, MD [ L6.72 [L11.25, 2.19]). There was no significant difference (P > 0.05) between the groups in blood loss, preoperative and postoperative JOA score, or JOA recovery rate.

CONCLUSIONS: Modified laminoplasty had shorter operation times, a lower incidence of axial pain, a higher cervical ROM, and a lower atrophy rate compared with conventional laminoplasty. The clinical and radiologic results of modified laminoplasty have been partly superior to those of conventional laminoplasty to date.

Reduced Field-of-View Diffusion Tensor Imaging of the Spinal Cord Shows Motor Dysfunction of the Lower Extremities in Patients With Cervical Compression Myelopathy

Spine 2018;43:89–96

Study Design. A cross-sectional study.

Objective. The aim of this study was to quantify spinal cord dysfunction at the tract level in patients with cervical compressive myelopathy (CCM) using reduced field-of-view (rFOV) diffusion tensor imaging (DTI).

Summary of Background Data. Although magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the standard used for radiological evaluation of CCM, information acquired by MRI does not necessarily reflect the severity of spinal cord disorder. There is a growing interest in developing imaging methods to quantify spinal cord dysfunction. To acquire high-resolution DTI, a new scheme using rFOV has been proposed.

Methods. We enrolled 10 healthy volunteers and 20 patients with CCM in this study. The participants were studied using a 3.0-T MRI system. For DTI acquisitions, diffusion-weighted spinecho rFOV single-shot echo-planar imaging was used. Regions of interest (ROI) for the lateral column (LC) and posterior column (PC) tracts were determined on the basis of a map of fractional anisotropy (FA) of the spinal cord and FA values were measured. The FA of patients with CCM was compared with that of healthy controls and correlated with Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) score.

Results. In LC and PC tracts, FA values in patients with CCM were significantly lower than in healthy volunteers. Total JOA scores correlated moderately with FA in LC and PC tracts. JOA subscores for motor dysfunction of the lower extremities correlated strongly with FA in LC and PC tracts.

Conclusion. It is feasible to evaluate the cervical spinal cord at the tract level using rFOV DTI. Although FA values at the maximum compression level were not well correlated with total JOA scores, they were strongly correlated with JOA subscores for motor dysfunction of the lower extremities. Our findings suggest that FA reflects white matter dysfunction below the maximum compression level and FA can be used as an imaging biomarker of spinal cord dysfunction.

Key words: . Level of Evidence: 4

Microendoscopic laminotomy versus conventional laminoplasty for cervical spondylotic myelopathy: 5-year follow-up study

J Neurosurg Spine 27:403–409, 2017

The goal of this study was to characterize the long-term clinical and radiological results of articular segmental decompression surgery using endoscopy (cervical microendoscopic laminotomy [CMEL]) for cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) and to compare outcomes to conventional expansive laminoplasty (ELAP).

METHODS Consecutive patients with CSM who required surgical treatment were enrolled. All enrolled patients (n = 78) underwent CMEL or ELAP. All patients were followed postoperatively for more than 5 years. The preoperative and 5-year follow-up evaluations included neurological assessment (Japanese Orthopaedic Association [JOA] score), JOA recovery rates, axial neck pain (using a visual analog scale), the SF-36, and cervical sagittal alignment (C2–7 subaxial cervical angle).

RESULTS Sixty-one patients were included for analysis, 31 in the CMEL group and 30 in the ELAP group. The mean preoperative JOA score was 10.1 points in the CMEL group and 10.9 points in the ELAP group (p > 0.05). The JOA recovery rates were similar, 57.6% in the CMEL group and 55.4% in the ELAP group (p > 0.05). The axial neck pain in the CMEL group was significantly lower than that in the ELAP group (p < 0.01). At the 5-year follow-up, cervical alignment was more favorable in the CMEL group, with an average 2.6° gain in lordosis (versus 1.2° loss of lordosis in the ELAP group [p < 0.05]) and lower incidence of postoperative kyphosis.

CONCLUSIONS CMEL is a novel, less invasive technique that allows for multilevel posterior cervical decompression for the treatment of CSM. This 5-year follow-up data demonstrates that after undergoing CMEL, patients have similar neurological outcomes to conventional laminoplasty, with significantly less postoperative axial pain and improved subaxial cervical lordosis when compared with their traditional ELAP counterparts.

The Relationship Between Preoperative Clinical Presentation and Quantitative Magnetic Resonance Imaging Features in Patients With Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy

Neurosurgery 80:121–128, 2017

Degenerative cervical myelopathy encompasses a group of conditions resulting in progressive spinal cord injury through static and dynamic compression. Although a constellation of changes can present on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the clinical significance of these findings remains a subject of controversy and discussion.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the relationship between clinical presentation and quantitative MRI features in patients with degenerative cervical myelopathy.

METHODS: A secondary analysis of MRI and clinical data from 114 patients enrolled in a prospective, multicenter study was conducted. MRIs were assessed for maximum spinal cord compression (MSCC), maximum canal compromise (MCC), signal changes, and a signal change ratio (SCR). MRI features were compared between patients with and those without myelopathy symptoms with the use of t tests. Correlations between MRI features and duration of symptoms were assessed with the Spearman ρ.

RESULTS: Numb hands and Hoffmann sign were associated with greater MSCC (P < .05); broad-based, unstable gait, impairment of gait, and Hoffmann sign were associated with greaterMCC (P<.05); andnumbhands,Hoffmann sign, Babinski sign, lower limb spasticity, hyperreflexia, and T1 hypointensitywere associated with greater SCR (P<.05). Patientswith a T2 signal hyperintensity had greater MSCC and MCC (P < .001).

CONCLUSION: MSCC was associated with upper limb manifestations, and SCR was associated with upper limb, lower limb, and general neurological deficits. Hoffmann sign occurred more commonly in patients with a greater MSCC,MCC and SCR. The Lhermitte phenomenon presented more commonly in patientswith a lower SCR and may be an early indicator of mild spinal cord involvement. Research to validate these findings is required.

Clinical and Surgical Predictors of Complications Following Surgery for the Treatment of Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy


Neurosurgery 79:33–44, 2016

Surgery for cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) is generally safe and effective. Nonetheless, complications occur in 11% to 38% of patients. Knowledge of important predictors of complications will help clinicians identify high-risk patients and institute prevention and management strategies.

OBJECTIVE: To identify clinical and surgical predictors of perioperative complications in CSM patients.

METHODS: Four hundred seventy-nine surgical CSM patients were enrolled in the prospective CSM-International study at 16 sites. A panel of physicians reviewed all adverse events and classified each as related or unrelated to surgery. Univariate analyses were performed to determine differences between patients who experienced a perioperative complication and those who did not. A complication prediction rule was developed using multiple logistic regression.

RESULTS: Seventy-eight patients experienced 89 perioperative complications (16.25%). On univariate analysis, the major clinical risk factors were ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL) (P = .055), number of comorbidities (P = .002), comorbidity score (P = .006), diabetes mellitus (P = .001), and coexisting gastrointestinal (P = .039) and cardiovascular (P = .046) disorders. Patients undergoing a 2-stage surgery (P = .002) and those with a longer operative duration (P = .001) were at greater risk of perioperative complications. A final prediction model consisted of diabetes mellitus (odds ratio [OR] = 1.96, P = .060), number of comorbidities (OR = 1.20, P = .069), operative duration (OR = 1.07, P = .002), and OPLL (OR = 1.75, P = .040).

CONCLUSION: Surgical CSM patients have a higher risk of perioperative complications if they have a greater number of comorbidities, coexisting diabetes mellitus, OPLL, and a longer operative duration. Surgeons can use this information to discuss the risks and benefits of surgery with patients, to plan case-specific preventive strategies, and to ensure appropriate management in the perioperative period.

Two-level corpectomy versus three-level discectomy for cervical spondylotic myelopathy

Two-level corpectomy versus three-level discectomy for cervical spondylotic myelopathy

J Neurosurg Spine 23:280–289, 2015

In the treatment of cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM), anterior cervical corpectomy and fusion (ACCF) and anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) are effective decompressive techniques. It remains to be determined whether ACCF and ACDF offer equivalent outcomes for multilevel CSM. In this study, the authors compared perioperative, radiographic, and clinical outcomes between 2-level ACCF and 3-level ACDF.

Methods Between 2006 and 2012, all patients at the authors’ hospital who underwent 2-level ACCF or 3-level ACDF performed by 1 of 2 surgeons were identified. Primary outcomes of interest were sagittal Cobb angle, adjacent-segment disease (ASD) requiring surgery, neck pain measured by visual analog scale (VAS), and Nurick score. Secondary outcomes of interest included estimated blood loss (EBL), length of stay, perioperative complications, and radiographic pseudarthrosis rate. Chi-square tests and 2-tailed Student t-tests were used to compare the 2 groups. A subgroup analysis of patients without posterior spinal fusion (PSF) was also performed.

Results Twenty patients underwent 2-level ACCF, and 35 patients underwent 3-level ACDF during a 6-year period. Preoperative Nurick scores were higher in the ACCF group (2.1 vs 1.1, p = 0.014), and more patients underwent PSF in the 2-level ACCF group compared with patients in the 3-level ACDF group (60.0% vs 17.1%, p = 0.001). Otherwise there were no significant differences in demographics, comorbidities, and baseline clinical parameters between the 2 groups. Two-level ACCF was associated with significantly higher EBL compared with 3-level ACDF for the anterior stage of surgery (382.2 ml vs 117.9 ml, p < 0.001). Two-level ACCF was also associated with a longer hospital stay compared with 3-level ACDF (7.2 days vs 4.9 days, p = 0.048), but a subgroup comparison of patients without PSF showed no significant difference in length of stay (3.1 days vs 4.4 days for 2-level ACCF vs 3-level ACDF, respectively; p = 0.267). Similarly, there was a trend toward more complications in the 2-level ACCF group (20.0%) than the 3-level ACDF group (5.7%; p = 0.102), but a subgroup analysis that excluded those who had second-stage PSF no longer showed the same trend (2-level ACCF, 0.0% vs 3-level ACDF, 3.4%; p = 0.594). There were no significant differences between the ACCF group and the ACDF group in terms of postoperative sagittal Cobb angle (7.2° vs 12.1°, p = 0.173), operative ASD (6.3% vs 3.6%, p = 0.682), and radiographic pseudarthrosis rate (6.3% vs 7.1%, p = 0.909). Both groups had similar improvement in mean VAS neck pain scores (3.4 vs 3.2 for ACCF vs ACDF, respectively; p = 0.860) and Nurick scores (0.8 vs 0.7, p = 0.925).

Conclusions Two-level ACCF was associated with greater EBL and longer hospital stays when patients underwent a second-stage PSF. However, the length of stay was similar when patients underwent anterior-only decompression with either 2-level ACCF or 3-level ACDF. Furthermore, perioperative complication rates were similar in the 2 groups when patients underwent anterior decompression without PSF. Both groups obtained similar postoperative cervical lordosis, operative ASD rates, radiographic pseudarthrosis rates, neurological improvement, and pain relief.

A clinical prediction model to assess surgical outcome in patients with cervical spondylotic myelopathy

A clinical prediction model to assess surgical outcome in patients with cervical spondylotic myelopathy

The Spine Journal 15 (2015) 388–397

Clinical prediction rules are valuable tools in a surgical setting but should not be used to guide clinical practice until validated in other populations.

PURPOSE: The objective of this study was to validate a clinical prediction rule developed to determine surgical outcome in patients with cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM). The study will also identify key clinical predictors of outcome at a global level.

STUDY DESIGN/SETTING: This is a prospective multicenter cohort study.

PATIENT SAMPLE: Two-hundred seventy-eight and 479 surgical CSM patients enrolled in the AOSpine CSM—North American (CSM-NA) and CSM—International (CSM-I) studies, respectively.

OUTCOME MEASURES: The outcome measure was a Modified Japanese Orthopedic Association (mJOA) Scale.

METHODS: A clinical prediction model was built using data from 272 patients enrolled in the CSM-NA study. Bootstrapping was used for internal validation. The original model was externally validated using data on 471 patients participating in the CSM-I study. The predictive performance of the model was evaluated, including its discrimination, measured by area under the receiver operating curve (AUC), and calibration, assessed by calibration slope, observed: expected ratios, and Hosmer-Lemeshow goodness-of-fit test.

RESULTS: The modified original model consisted of six covariates: age (odds ratio [OR], 0.96), duration of symptoms (0.76), baseline severity score (1.21), psychiatric comorbidities (0.44), impairment of gait (2.48), and smoking status (0.50). The AUC for the original model was 0.77 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.71, 0.82) and across the bootstrap replicates was 0.77 (95% CI: 0.76, 0.77), reflecting good discrimination and internal validity. The model tested on the CSM-I dataset yielded an AUC of 0.74 (95% CI: 0.69, 0.79), a calibration slope of 0.75, and an insignificant Hosmer-Lemeshow test. The ORs generated for baseline mJOA (OR, 1.26), impairment of gait (2.67), age (0.97), and smoking (0.55) were very similar to the original values of 1.28, 2.39, and 0.97, respectively. Duration of symptoms (OR, 0.94) had a significantly different odds ratio than in the original model, but the direction of its relationship with outcome was the same. Psychiatric comorbidities was not a significant predictor at an international level, likely because of underreporting: only six patients outside of North American centers were diagnosed with depression or bipolar.

CONCLUSIONS: The parameter estimates generated from the original analysis were internally valid. The original model was also externally valid. The most significant global predictors of surgical outcome were baseline myelopathy severity, age, smoking status and impaired gait.

Anterior cervical discectomy versus corpectomy for multilevel cervical spondylotic myelopathy: a meta-analysis

Anterior cervical discectomy versus corpectomy for multilevel cervical spondylotic myelopathy

Eur Spine J (2015) 24:31–39

This is a meta-analysis to compare the results between anterior cervical discectomy fusion (ACDF) and anterior cervical corpectomy fusion (ACCF) for the patients with multilevel cervical spondylotic myelopathy (MCSM).

Methods Systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort studies between ACDF with plate fixation and ACCF with plate fixation for the treatment of MCSM. An extensive search of literature was performed in PubMed, Mediline, Embase and the Cochrane library. The following outcome measures were extracted: JOA scores, fusion rate, cervical lordosis (C2–7), complications, blood loss and operation time. Data analysis was conducted with RevMan 5.0.

Results Four cohorts (six studies) involving 258 patients were included in this study. The pooled analysis showed that there was no significant difference in the postoperative JOA score [WMD = -0.14 (-1.37, 1.10), P = 0.83], fusion rate [OR = 0.84 (0.15, 4.86), P = 0.85] between two group. However, there was significant difference in the cervical lordosis [WMD = 3.38 (2.52, 4.23), P<0.00001], surgical complication rate and instrument related complication rate (P = 0.01, 0.005 respectively), blood loss [WMD = -52.53 (-73.53, -31.52), P<0.00001], and operation time [WMD = -14.10 (-20.27, -7.93), P<0.00001].

Conclusions As compared with ACCF with plate fixation, ACDF with plate fixation showed no significant differences in terms of postoperative JOA score, fusion rate, but better improved cervical lordosis, lower complication and smaller surgical trauma. As the limitations of small sample and short follow-up in this study, it still could not be identified whether ACDF with plate fixation is more effective and safer than ACCF with plate fixation.

Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy Surgical Trial: Randomized, Controlled Trial Design and Rationale

Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy Surgical Trial- Randomized, Controlled Trial Design and Rationale

Neurosurgery 75:334–346, 2014

Cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) is the most common cause of spinal cord dysfunction in the world. There are significant practice variation and uncertainty as to the optimal surgical approach for treating CSM.

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether ventral surgery is associated with superior Short Form- 36 Physical Component Summary outcome at the 1-year follow-up compared with dorsal (laminectomy/fusion or laminoplasty) surgery for the treatment of CSM, to investigate whether postoperative sagittal balance is an independent predictor of overall outcome, and to compare health resource use for ventral and dorsal procedures.

METHODS: The study is a randomized, controlled trial with a nonrandomized arm for patients who are eligible but decline randomization. Two hundred fifty patients (159 randomized) with CSM from 11 sites will be recruited over 18 months. The primary outcome is the Short Form-36 Physical Component Summary score. Secondary outcomes include disease-specific outcomes, overall health-related quality of life (EuroQOL 5-dimension questionnaire), and health resource use.

EXPECTED OUTCOMES: This will be the first randomized, controlled trial to compare directly the health-related quality-of-life outcomes for ventral vs dorsal surgery for treating CSM.

DISCUSSION: A National Institutes of Health-funded (1R13AR065834-01) investigator meeting was held before the initiation of the trial to bring multiple stakeholders together to finalize the study protocol. Study investigators, coordinators, and major stakeholders were able to attend and discuss strengths of, limitations of, and concerns about the study. The final protocol was approved for funding by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (CE-1304-6173). The trial began enrollment on April 1, 2014.

Outcomes of surgical intervention for cervical spondylotic myelopathy accompanying local kyphosis

cervical kyphosis

Eur Spine J (2014) 23:341–346

The surgical strategy for cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) accompanying local kyphosis is controversial. The purpose of the present study was to compare and evaluate the outcomes of two types of surgery for CSM accompanying local kyphosis: (1) laminoplasty alone (LP) and (2) posterior reconstruction surgery (PR) in which we corrected the local kyphosis using a pedicle screw or lateral mass screw.

Methods Sixty patients who presented with local kyphosis exceeding 5º were enrolled. LP and PR were each performed on a group of 30 of these patients; 30 CSM patients without local kyphosis, who had undergone LP, were used as controls. The follow-up period was 2 years or longer. Preoperative local kyphosis angles in LP and PR were 8.3 ± 4.4 and 8.8 ± 5.7, respectively. Preoperative C2–7 angles in LP, PR and controls were -1.7 ± 9.6, -0.4 ± 7.2 and -12.0 ± 5.6, respectively. The recovery rate of the JOA score, local kyphosis angle and C2–7 angle at post-op and follow-up were compared between the groups.

Results The recovery rate of the JOA score in the LP group (32.6 %) was significantly worse than that in the PR group (44.5 %) and that of controls (53.8 %). Local kyphosis angles in the PR and LP groups at follow-up were 4.0 ± 8.6 and 8.0 ± 6.0, respectively. However, although the C2–7 angle at follow-up was improved to -11.1 ± 12.7 in PR, and maintained at -11.6 ± 6.2 in controls, it deteriorated to 0.5 ± 12.7 in LP.

Conclusions The present study is the first to compare the outcomes between LP alone and PR for CSM accompanying local kyphosis. It revealed that PR resulted in a better clinical outcome than did LP alone. This result may be due to reduction of local kyphosis, stabilization of the unstable segment, and/or the maintenance of C2–7 angle until follow- up in the PR group.

Predictors of Surgical Outcome in Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy

Predictors of Surgical Outcome in Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy

Spine 2013 ; 38 : 392 – 400

Study Design. Prospective study.

Objective. To determine whether magnetic resonance imaging and clinical and demographic fi ndings in patients with cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) were independently associated with baseline functional scores and whether these were also predictive of postoperative functional outcomes.

Summary of Background Data. There are considerable limitations in current literature that prevent making formal recommendations regarding the use of clinical and radiological prognostic factors in patients with CSM.

Methods. This prospective study included 65 consecutive patients with CSM treated in a tertiary referral center. The modifi ed Japanese Orthopaedic Association (mJOA) scale was used to quantify disability at admission and at 12-month follow-up. Age, sex, duration of symptoms, severity of myelopathy, spinal column alignment, surgical technique, levels of compression, anteroposterior diameter and transverse area at the site of maximal cord compression, and magnetic resonance imaging signal intensity changes were assessed. Data were analyzed using Spearman rank correlation test, analysis of variance, Mann–Whitney U test, and stepwise multivariate regression.

Results. Higher baseline mJOA scores were associated with younger age ( P = 0.0002), shorter duration of symptoms ( P = 0.03), and greater transverse area ( P = 0.02). Better recovery ratio was associated with younger age ( P = 0.005) and higher baseline mJOA score ( P = 0.003). Greater changes in mJOA score were associated with higher baseline mJOA score (P < 0.0001). Using multivariate analysis, the functional outcomes after surgery were best predicted by baseline mJOA score and age of patient.

Conclusion. Age and baseline mJOA scores were highly predictive of outcome for patients undergoing surgical treatment of CSM. The degree of spinal cord compression and patterns of signal intensity changes on T1/T2 weighted images were not independently predictive of outcome, but it was found to correlate with the functional status at the time of presentation and age of the patient. The duration of symptoms correlated well with preoperative functional status but did not seem to affect the postoperative outcome.

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