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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)585-593
Number of pages9
JournalActa Neurologica Belgica
Volume119
Issue number4
Early online date12 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019

    Research areas

  • Cervical spondylotic myelopathy, ACDF, Laminectomy

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