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Comparison of the effect of anterior and posterior neurosurgical treatment for cervical spondylotic myelopathy: a clinical outcome

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Abstract

Cervical degenerative disease is the most common cause of acquired disability in patients over the age of 50. The incidence of cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) is increasing with aging of the population. Surgical decompression is indicated for severe CSM. There is, however, insufficient evidence to prefer anterior over posterior surgical decompression technique for CSM. Our purpose was to identify groups of patients that would benefit from a chosen surgical approach with a better clinical outcome. We conducted a retrospective analysis of patients operated for CSM between 2007 and 2011. Patients were assessed according to the Nurick grading system. Preoperative and postoperative clinical details and MR imaging were analyzed. Treatment consisted of either anterior cervical discectomy with fusion (ACDF) or laminectomy without fusion. Over a period of 4 years, 90 patients were included. The mean age of patients was 64.5 ± 1.3 years. Of 90 included patients, 42 patients were treated with ACDF and 48 with laminectomy. Mean total Nurick grade recovery rate (NGRR) was 29.6% with 31.2% in ACDF and 27.7% in laminectomy. Mid-sagittal diameter of the cervical canal measured on MRI-T2 increased significantly more with laminectomy (4.4 mm) than ACDF (2.2 mm) (p < 0.001). The presence of preoperative spasticity or quadriparesis or a multilevel compression indicated a higher recovery on the Nurick scale. Surgical treatment of CSM leads to a significant improvement of the functional neurological status of the patient as well as an increase in the diameter of the cervical canal. No significant difference in Nurick recovery was found between ACDF and laminectomy indicating that clinical decision-making in our series was adequate. We were able to demonstrate that even severely disabled patients have a good chance of neurologic recovery after surgical treatment for CSM.

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The study and manuscript preparation include the following. Conception and design: Bourgonjon, Duerinck. Acquisition of data: Bourgonjon. Analysis and interpretation of data: Bourgonjon, Duerinck. Drafting the article: Bourgonjon, Duerinck, Moens. Critically revising the article: all authors. Reviewed submitted version of manuscript: all authors. Approved the final version of the manuscript on behalf of all authors: Bourgonjon, Duerinck, Moens. We would like to thank Prof. Em. Patrick Haentjens for the statistical analysis and Prof. Em. Patrick Herregodts for helping in conception and design.

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Correspondence to B. Bourgonjon.

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Bourgonjon, B., Duerinck, J., Moens, M. et al. Comparison of the effect of anterior and posterior neurosurgical treatment for cervical spondylotic myelopathy: a clinical outcome. Acta Neurol Belg 119, 585–593 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13760-019-01184-6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13760-019-01184-6

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