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A comparative study of the treatment of cervical spondylotic myeloradiculopathy

Experience with 50 cases treated by means of extensive laminectomy, foraminotomy, and excision of osteophytes during the past 10 years

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This paper reviews management by means of the posterior approach of 50 patients with cervical myeloradiculopathy caused by spondylosis and stenosis of the spinal canal seen in the past 10 years.

Careful selection of patients is an absolute necessity since a primary cause of failure occurred in individuals who subsequently proved to have motor neurone disease. Older individuals with long-standing neurological deficits, especially long tract signs indicative of fixed lesions, were benefited primarily by a lack of further progression of their disorder and occasional improvement in hand function and gait. Diagnostic evaluation should include electromyography, nerve conduction studies, and sensory evoked cortical potentials. With the introduction of the fourth generation CAT scanning equipment, additional diagnostic information is available regarding the internal configuration of the spinal canal, its contents, and the amount of available space at various levels. Supplementary myelography remains of basic importance.

Laminectomy includes two levels above and below the areas of significant canal encroachment. Foraminal decompression with removal of only the innermost third of the foramen permits mobilization of the nerve roots, removal of osteophytes and untethering of the durai sac. A great deal of importance is attached to the preservation of the cervical lordotic curve since, with an adequate decompression and an intact dura, the cord moves dorsally into an expanded canal, rising above the ventrally situated osteophytes. In those patients with reversal of the cervical curve and swan neck deformities, posterior decompression has not been of value. Recent more radical procedures in such cases, such as vertebrectomy, remain to be evaluated. Any procedure which will permit further kyphotic deformity, such as laminectomy, is contraindicated.

Eighty-five percent of the patients operated upon by the recommended surgical approach improved.

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Epstein, J.A., Janin, Y., Carras, R. et al. A comparative study of the treatment of cervical spondylotic myeloradiculopathy. Acta neurochir 61, 89–104 (1982). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01740074

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  • Cervical myeloradiculopathy
  • spondylosis
  • stenosis
  • laminectomy