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Comparing posterior cervical foraminotomy with anterior cervical discectomy and fusion in radiculopathic patients: an analysis from the Quality Outcomes Database

Praveen V. Mummaneni, Erica F. Bisson, Giorgos Michalopoulos, William J. Mualem, Sally El Sammak, Michael Y. Wang, Andrew K. Chan, Regis W. Haid, John J. Knightly, Dean Chou, Brandon A. Sherrod, Oren N. Gottfried, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Jacob L. Goldberg, Michael S. Virk, Ibrahim Hussain, Nitin Agarwal, Steven D. Glassman, Mark E. Shaffrey, Paul Park, Kevin T. Foley, Brenton Pennicooke, Domagoj Coric, Jonathan R. Slotkin, Eric A. Potts, Kai-Ming G. Fu, Anthony L. Asher, and Mohamad Bydon

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this study was to compare clinical and patient-reported outcomes (PROs) between posterior foraminotomy and anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) in patients presenting with cervical radiculopathy.

METHODS

The Quality Outcomes Database was queried for patients who had undergone ACDF or posterior foraminotomy for radiculopathy. To create two highly homogeneous groups, optimal individual matching was performed at a 5:1 ratio between the two groups on 29 baseline variables (including demographic characteristics, comorbidities, symptoms, patient-reported scores, underlying pathologies, and levels treated). Outcomes of interest were length of stay, reoperations, patient-reported satisfaction, increase in EQ-5D score, and decrease in Neck Disability Index (NDI) scores for arm and neck pain as long as 1 year after surgery. Noninferiority analysis of achieving patient satisfaction and minimal clinically important difference (MCID) in PROs was performed with an accepted risk difference of 5%.

RESULTS

A total of 7805 eligible patients were identified: 216 of these underwent posterior foraminotomy and were matched to 1080 patients who underwent ACDF. The patients who underwent ACDF had more underlying pathologies, lower EQ-5D scores, and higher NDI and neck pain scores at baseline. Posterior foraminotomy was associated with shorter hospitalization (0.5 vs 0.9 days, p < 0.001). Reoperations within 12 months were significantly more common among the posterior foraminotomy group (4.2% vs 1.9%, p = 0.04). The two groups performed similarly in PROs, with posterior foraminotomy being noninferior to ACDF in achieving MCID in EQ-5D and neck pain scores but also having lower rates of maximal satisfaction at 12 months (North American Spine Society score of 1 achieved by 65.2% posterior foraminotomy patients vs 74.6% of ACDF patients, p = 0.02).

CONCLUSIONS

The two procedures were found to be offered to different populations, with ACDF being selected for patients with more complicated pathologies and symptoms. After individual matching, posterior foraminotomy was associated with a higher reoperation risk within 1 year after surgery compared to ACDF (4.2% vs 1.9%). In terms of 12-month PROs, posterior foraminotomy was noninferior to ACDF in improving quality of life and neck pain. The two procedures also performed similarly in improving NDI scores and arm pain, but ACDF patients had higher maximal satisfaction rates.

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Cervical spondylotic myelopathy and driving abilities: defining the prevalence and long-term postoperative outcomes using the Quality Outcomes Database

Nitin Agarwal, Sarah E. Johnson, Mohamad Bydon, Erica F. Bisson, Andrew K. Chan, Saman Shabani, Vijay Letchuman, Giorgos D. Michalopoulos, Daniel C. Lu, Michael Y. Wang, Raj Swaroop Lavadi, Regis W. Haid, John J. Knightly, Brandon A. Sherrod, Oren N. Gottfried, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Jacob L. Goldberg, Michael S. Virk, Ibrahim Hussain, Steven D. Glassman, Mark E. Shaffrey, Paul Park, Kevin T. Foley, Brenton Pennicooke, Domagoj Coric, Jonathan R. Slotkin, Cheerag Upadhyaya, Eric A. Potts, Luis M. Tumialán, Dean Chou, Kai-Ming G. Fu, Anthony L. Asher, and Praveen V. Mummaneni

OBJECTIVE

Cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) can cause significant difficulty with driving and a subsequent reduction in an individual’s quality of life due to neurological deterioration. The positive impact of surgery on postoperative patient-reported driving capabilities has been seldom explored.

METHODS

The CSM module of the Quality Outcomes Database was utilized. Patient-reported driving ability was assessed via the driving section of the Neck Disability Index (NDI) questionnaire. This is an ordinal scale in which 0 represents the absence of symptoms while driving and 5 represents a complete inability to drive due to symptoms. Patients were considered to have an impairment in their driving ability if they reported an NDI driving score of 3 or higher (signifying impairment in driving duration due to symptoms). Multivariable logistic regression models were fitted to evaluate mediators of baseline impairment and improvement at 24 months after surgery, which was defined as an NDI driving score < 3.

RESULTS

A total of 1128 patients who underwent surgical intervention for CSM were included, of whom 354 (31.4%) had baseline driving impairment due to CSM. Moderate (OR 2.3) and severe (OR 6.3) neck pain, severe arm pain (OR 1.6), mild-moderate (OR 2.1) and severe (OR 2.5) impairment in hand/arm dexterity, severe impairment in leg use/walking (OR 1.9), and severe impairment of urinary function (OR 1.8) were associated with impaired driving ability at baseline. Of the 291 patients with baseline impairment and available 24-month follow-up data, 209 (71.8%) reported postoperative improvement in their driving ability. This improvement seemed to be mediated particularly through the achievement of the minimal clinically important difference (MCID) in neck pain and improvement in leg function/walking. Patients with improved driving at 24 months noted higher postoperative satisfaction (88.5% vs 62.2%, p < 0.01) and were more likely to achieve a clinically significant improvement in their quality of life (50.7% vs 37.8%, p < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

Nearly one-third of patients with CSM report impaired driving ability at presentation. Seventy-two percent of these patients reported improvements in their driving ability within 24 months of surgery. Surgical management of CSM can significantly improve patients’ driving abilities at 24 months and hence patients’ quality of life.

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What is the effect of preoperative depression on outcomes after minimally invasive surgery for adult spinal deformity? A prospective cohort analysis

Nitin Agarwal, Vijay Letchuman, Raj Swaroop Lavadi, Vivian P. Le, Alexander A. Aabedi, Saman Shabani, Andrew K. Chan, Paul Park, Juan S. Uribe, Jay D. Turner, Robert K. Eastlack, Richard G. Fessler, Kai-Ming Fu, Michael Y. Wang, Adam S. Kanter, David O. Okonkwo, Pierce D. Nunley, Neel Anand, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Peter G. Passias, Shay Bess, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Dean Chou, and Praveen V. Mummaneni

OBJECTIVE

Depression has been implicated with worse immediate postoperative outcomes in adult spinal deformity (ASD) correction, yet the specific impact of depression on those patients undergoing minimally invasive surgery (MIS) requires further clarity. This study aimed to evaluate the role of depression in the recovery of patients with ASD after undergoing MIS.

METHODS

Patients who underwent MIS for ASD with a minimum postoperative follow-up of 1 year were included from a prospectively collected, multicenter registry. Two cohorts of patients were identified that consisted of either those affirming or denying depression on preoperative assessment. The patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) compared included scores on the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), numeric rating scale (NRS) for back and leg pain, Scoliosis Research Society Outcomes Questionnaire (SRS-22), SF-36 physical component summary, SF-36 mental component summary (MCS), EQ-5D, and EQ-5D visual analog scale.

RESULTS

Twenty-seven of 147 (18.4%) patients screened positive for preoperative depression. The nondepressed cohort had an average of 4.83 levels fused, and the depressed cohort had 5.56 levels fused per patient (p = 0.267). At 1-year follow-up, 10 patients still reported depression, representing a 63% decrease. Postoperatively, both cohorts demonstrated improvement in their PROMs; however, at 1-year follow-up, those without depression had statistically better outcomes based on the EQ-5D, MCS, and SRS-22 scores (p < 0.05). Patients with depression continued to experience higher NRS leg scores at 1-year follow-up (3.63 vs 2.22, p = 0.018). After controlling for covariates, the authors found that depression significantly impacted only 1-year follow-up MCS scores (β = 8.490, p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

Depressed and nondepressed patients reported similar improvements after MIS surgery, except MCS scores were more likely to improve in nondepressed patients.

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Does the number of social factors affect long-term patient-reported outcomes and satisfaction in those with cervical myelopathy? A QOD study

Christine Park, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Khoi D. Than, Erica F. Bisson, Brandon A. Sherrod, Anthony L. Asher, Domagoj Coric, Eric A. Potts, Kevin T. Foley, Michael Y. Wang, Kai-Ming Fu, Michael S. Virk, John J. Knightly, Scott Meyer, Paul Park, Cheerag Upadhyaya, Mark E. Shaffrey, Avery L. Buchholz, Luis M. Tumialán, Jay D. Turner, Nitin Agarwal, Andrew K. Chan, Dean Chou, Nauman S. Chaudhry, Regis W. Haid Jr., Praveen V. Mummaneni, Georgios D. Michalopoulos, Mohamad Bydon, and Oren N. Gottfried

OBJECTIVE

It is not clear whether there is an additive effect of social factors in keeping patients with cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) from achieving both a minimum clinically important difference (MCID) in outcomes and satisfaction after surgery. The aim of this study was to explore the effect of multiple social factors on postoperative outcomes and satisfaction.

METHODS

This was a multiinstitutional, retrospective study of the prospective Quality Outcomes Database (QOD) CSM cohort, which included patients aged 18 years or older who were diagnosed with primary CSM and underwent operative management. Social factors included race (White vs non-White), education (high school or below vs above), employment (employed vs not), and insurance (private vs nonprivate). Patients were considered to have improved from surgery if the following criteria were met: 1) they reported a score of 1 or 2 on the North American Spine Society index, and 2) they met the MCID in patient-reported outcomes (i.e., visual analog scale [VAS] neck and arm pain, Neck Disability Index [NDI], and EuroQol-5D [EQ-5D]).

RESULTS

Of the 1141 patients included in the study, 205 (18.0%) had 0, 347 (30.4%) had 1, 334 (29.3%) had 2, and 255 (22.3%) had 3 social factors. The 24-month follow-up rate was > 80% for all patient-reported outcomes. After adjusting for all relevant covariates (p < 0.02), patients with 1 or more social factors were less likely to improve from surgery in all measured outcomes including VAS neck pain (OR 0.90, 95% CI 0.83–0.99) and arm pain (OR 0.88, 95% CI 0.80–0.96); NDI (OR 0.90, 95% CI 0.83–0.98); and EQ-5D (OR 0.90, 95% CI 0.83–0.97) (all p < 0.05) compared to those without any social factors. Patients with 2 social factors (outcomes: neck pain OR 0.86, arm pain OR 0.81, NDI OR 0.84, EQ-5D OR 0.81; all p < 0.05) or 3 social factors (outcomes: neck pain OR 0.84, arm pain OR 0.84, NDI OR 0.84, EQ-5D OR 0.84; all p < 0.05) were more likely to fare worse in all outcomes compared to those with only 1 social factor.

CONCLUSIONS

Compared to those without any social factors, patients who had at least 1 social factor were less likely to achieve MCID and feel satisfied after surgery. The effect of social factors is additive in that patients with a higher number of factors are less likely to improve compared to those with only 1 social factor.

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What predicts the best 24-month outcomes following surgery for cervical spondylotic myelopathy? A QOD prospective registry study

Andrew K. Chan, Christine Park, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Oren N. Gottfried, Khoi D. Than, Erica F. Bisson, Mohamad Bydon, Anthony L. Asher, Domagoj Coric, Eric A. Potts, Kevin T. Foley, Michael Y. Wang, Kai-Ming Fu, Michael S. Virk, John J. Knightly, Scott Meyer, Paul Park, Cheerag D. Upadhyaya, Mark E. Shaffrey, Avery L. Buchholz, Luis M. Tumialán, Jay D. Turner, Giorgos Michalopoulos, Brandon A. Sherrod, Nitin Agarwal, Dean Chou, Regis W. Haid Jr., and Praveen V. Mummaneni

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to identify predictors of the best 24-month improvements in patients undergoing surgery for cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM). For this purpose, the authors leveraged a large prospective cohort of surgically treated patients with CSM to identify factors predicting the best outcomes for disability, quality of life, and functional status following surgery.

METHODS

This was a retrospective analysis of prospectively collected data. The Quality Outcomes Database (QOD) CSM dataset (1141 patients) at 14 top enrolling sites was used. Baseline and surgical characteristics were compared for those reporting the top and bottom 20th percentile 24-month Neck Disability Index (NDI), EuroQol-5D (EQ-5D), and modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association (mJOA) change scores. A multivariable logistic model was constructed and included candidate variables reaching p ≤ 0.20 on univariate analyses. Least important variables were removed in a stepwise manner to determine the significant predictors of the best outcomes (top 20th percentile) for 24-month NDI, EQ-5D, and mJOA change.

RESULTS

A total of 948 (83.1%) patients with 24-month follow-up were included in this study. For NDI, 204 (17.9%) had the best NDI outcome and 200 (17.5%) had the worst NDI outcome. Factors predicting the best NDI outcomes included symptom duration less than 12 months (OR 1.5, 95% CI 1.1–1.9; p = 0.01); procedure other than posterior fusion (OR 1.5, 95% CI 1.03–2.1; p = 0.03); higher preoperative visual analog scale neck pain score (OR 1.2, 95% CI 1.1–1.3; p < 0.001); and higher baseline NDI (OR 1.06, 95% CI 1.05–1.07; p < 0.001). For EQ-5D, 163 (14.3%) had the best EQ-5D outcome and 169 (14.8%) had the worst EQ-5D outcome. Factors predicting the best EQ-5D outcomes included arm pain–only complaints (compared to neck pain) (OR 1.9, 95% CI 1.3–2.9; p = 0.002) and lower baseline EQ-5D (OR 167.7 per unit lower, 95% CI 85.0–339.4; p < 0.001). For mJOA, 222 (19.5%) had the best mJOA outcome and 238 (20.9%) had the worst mJOA outcome. Factors predicting the best mJOA outcomes included lower BMI (OR 1.03 per unit lower, 95% CI 1.004–1.05; p = 0.02; cutoff value of ≤ 29.5 kg/m2); arm pain–only complaints (compared to neck pain) (OR 1.7, 95% CI 1.1–2.5; p = 0.02); and lower baseline mJOA (OR 1.6 per unit lower, 95% CI 1.5–1.7; p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

Compared to the worst outcomes for EQ-5D, the best outcomes were associated with patients with arm pain–only complaints. For mJOA, lower BMI and arm pain–only complaints portended the best outcomes. For NDI, those with the best outcomes had shorter symptom durations, higher preoperative neck pain scores, and less often underwent posterior spinal fusions. Given the positive impact of shorter symptom duration on outcomes, these data suggest that early surgery may be beneficial for patients with CSM.

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Does diabetes affect outcome or reoperation rate after lumbar decompression or arthrodesis? A matched analysis of the Quality Outcomes Database data set

Presented at the 2023 AANS/CNS Joint Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves

James Mooney, Karim Rizwan Nathani, Daniel Zeitouni, Giorgos D. Michalopoulos, Michael Y. Wang, Domagoj Coric, Andrew K. Chan, Daniel C. Lu, Brandon A. Sherrod, Oren N. Gottfried, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Khoi D. Than, Jacob L. Goldberg, Ibrahim Hussain, Michael S. Virk, Nitin Agarwal, Steven D. Glassman, Mark E. Shaffrey, Paul Park, Kevin T. Foley, Dean Chou, Jonathan R. Slotkin, Luis M. Tumialán, Cheerag D. Upadhyaya, Eric A. Potts, Kai-Ming G. Fu, Regis W. Haid, John J. Knightly, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Erica F. Bisson, Anthony L. Asher, and Mohamad Bydon

OBJECTIVE

Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a known risk factor for postsurgical and systemic complications after lumbar spinal surgery. Smaller studies have also demonstrated diminished improvements in patient-reported outcomes (PROs), with increased reoperation and readmission rates after lumbar surgery in patients with DM. The authors aimed to examine longer-term PROs in patients with DM undergoing lumbar decompression and/or arthrodesis for degenerative pathology.

METHODS

The Quality Outcomes Database was queried for patients undergoing elective lumbar decompression and/or arthrodesis for degenerative pathology. Patients were grouped into DM and non-DM groups and optimally matched in a 1:1 ratio on 31 baseline variables, including the number of operated levels. Outcomes of interest were readmissions and reoperations at 30 and 90 days after surgery in addition to improvements in Oswestry Disability Index, back pain, and leg pain scores and quality-adjusted life-years at 90 days after surgery.

RESULTS

The matched decompression cohort comprised 7836 patients (3236 [41.3] females) with a mean age of 63.5 ± 12.6 years, and the matched arthrodesis cohort comprised 7336 patients (3907 [53.3%] females) with a mean age of 64.8 ± 10.3 years. In patients undergoing lumbar decompression, no significant differences in nonroutine discharge, length of stay (LOS), readmissions, reoperations, and PROs were observed. In patients undergoing lumbar arthrodesis, nonroutine discharge (15.7% vs 13.4%, p < 0.01), LOS (3.2 ± 2.0 vs 3.0 ± 3.5 days, p < 0.01), 30-day (6.5% vs 4.4%, p < 0.01) and 90-day (9.1% vs 7.0%, p < 0.01) readmission rates, and the 90-day reoperation rate (4.3% vs 3.2%, p = 0.01) were all significantly higher in the DM group. For DM patients undergoing lumbar arthrodesis, subgroup analyses demonstrated a significantly higher risk of poor surgical outcomes with the open approach.

CONCLUSIONS

Patients with and without DM undergoing lumbar spinal decompression alone have comparable readmission and reoperation rates, while those undergoing arthrodesis procedures have a higher risk of poor surgical outcomes up to 90 days after surgery. Surgeons should target optimal DM control preoperatively, particularly for patients undergoing elective lumbar arthrodesis.

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What factors influence surgical decision-making in anterior versus posterior surgery for cervical myelopathy? A QOD analysis

Presented at the 2023 AANS/CNS Joint Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves

Christine Park, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Khoi D. Than, Giorgos D. Michalopoulos, Sally El Sammak, Andrew K. Chan, Erica F. Bisson, Brandon A. Sherrod, Anthony L. Asher, Domagoj Coric, Eric A. Potts, Kevin T. Foley, Michael Y. Wang, Kai-Ming Fu, Michael S. Virk, John J. Knightly, Scott Meyer, Paul Park, Cheerag Upadhyaya, Mark E. Shaffrey, Avery L. Buchholz, Luis M. Tumialán, Jay Turner, Nitin Agarwal, Dean Chou, Nauman S. Chaudhry, Regis W. Haid Jr., Praveen V. Mummaneni, Mohamad Bydon, and Oren N. Gottfried

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to explore the preoperative patient characteristics that affect surgical decision-making when selecting an anterior or posterior operative approach in patients diagnosed with cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM).

METHODS

This was a multi-institutional, retrospective study of the prospective Quality Outcomes Database (QOD) Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy module. Patients aged 18 years or older diagnosed with primary CSM who underwent multilevel (≥ 2-level) elective surgery were included. Demographics and baseline clinical characteristics were collected.

RESULTS

Of the 841 patients with CSM in the database, 492 (58.5%) underwent multilevel anterior surgery and 349 (41.5%) underwent multilevel posterior surgery. Surgeons more often performed a posterior surgical approach in older patients (mean 64.8 ± 10.6 vs 58.5 ± 11.1 years, p < 0.001) and those with a higher American Society of Anesthesiologists class (class III or IV: 52.4% vs 46.3%, p = 0.003), a higher rate of motor deficit (67.0% vs 58.7%, p = 0.014), worse myelopathy (mean modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association score 11.4 ± 3.1 vs 12.4 ± 2.6, p < 0.001), and more levels treated (4.3 ± 1.3 vs 2.4 ± 0.6, p < 0.001). On the other hand, surgeons more frequently performed an anterior surgical approach when patients were employed (47.2% vs 23.2%, p < 0.001) and had intervertebral disc herniation as an underlying pathology (30.7% vs 9.2%, p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

The selection of approach for patients with CSM depends on patient demographics and symptomology. Posterior surgery was performed in patients who were older and had worse systemic disease, increased myelopathy, and greater levels of stenosis. Anterior surgery was more often performed in patients who were employed and had intervertebral disc herniation.

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Greater improvement in Neck Disability Index scores in women after surgery for cervical myelopathy: an analysis of the Quality Outcomes Database

Arati Patel, Sravani Kondapavulur, Gray Umbach, Andrew K. Chan, Vivian P. Le, Erica F. Bisson, Mohamad Bydon, Dean Chou, Steve D. Glassman, Kevin T. Foley, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Eric A. Potts, Mark E. Shaffrey, Domagoj Coric, John J. Knightly, Paul Park, Michael Y. Wang, Kai-Ming Fu, Jonathan Slotkin, Anthony L. Asher, Michael S. Virk, Regis W. Haid, Oren Gottfried, Scott Meyer, Cheerag D. Upadhyaya, Luis M. Tumialán, Jay D. Turner, and Praveen V. Mummaneni

OBJECTIVE

There is a high prevalence of cervical myelopathy that requires surgery; as such, it is important to identify how different groups benefit from surgery. The American Association of Neurological Surgeons launched the Quality Outcomes Database (QOD), a prospective longitudinal registry, that includes demographic, clinical, and patient-reported outcome data to measure the safety and quality of neurosurgical procedures. In this study, the authors assessed the impact of gender on patient-reported outcomes in patients who underwent surgery for cervical myelopathy.

METHODS

The authors analyzed 1152 patients who underwent surgery for cervical myelopathy and were included in the QOD cervical module. Univariate comparison of baseline patient characteristics between males and females who underwent surgery for cervical spondylotic myelopathy was performed. Baseline characteristics that significantly differed between males and females were included in a multivariate generalized linear model comparing baseline and 1-year postoperative Neck Disability Index (NDI) scores.

RESULTS

This study included 546 females and 604 males. Females demonstrated significantly greater improvement in NDI score 1 year after surgery (p = 0.036). In addition to gender, the presence of axial neck pain and insurance status were also significantly predictive of improvement in NDI score after surgery (p = 0.0013 and p = 0.0058, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS

Females were more likely to benefit from surgery for cervical myelopathy compared with males. It is important to identify gender differences in postoperative outcomes after surgery in order to deliver more personalized and patient-centric care.

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Does hinge sidedness influence laterality of C5 palsy after expansile open-door cervical laminoplasty?

David J. Levi, G. Damian Brusko, Allan D. Levi, and Michael Y. Wang

OBJECTIVE

Cervical expansile open-door laminoplasties (EOLPs) have an open side and a hinge side, with the open side being bridged by grafts or miniplates. The authors explored the possibility that the open-door side might have a greater incidence of C5 palsy due to a greater stretch of the ipsilateral C5 nerve root.

METHODS

This study was a retrospective review of prospectively collected data over a period of 25 years specifically assessing surgical complications. Included were patients who underwent EOLP for myelopathy, radiculopathy, or mild central cord injuries (American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale [AIS] grade D). Exclusion criteria included preexisting C5 weakness; patients with AIS grade A, B, or C injury; and added instrumentation or additional surgical procedures. Patients were monitored postoperatively for C5 palsy or any other complications. A comparison group included patients who underwent cervical laminectomy and fusion (CLF).

RESULTS

A total of 327 laminoplasties were collected, and 31 patients were excluded because of severe spinal cord injury (AIS grades A–C), 3 for preoperative C5 weakness, and 21 for instrumentation or additional surgical procedures. Thus, 272 patients were analyzed with a mean age of 59.9 years (range 22–88 years). Diagnoses at presentation were cervical myelopathy (84.1%), central cord syndrome (7.2%), cervical myeloradiculopathy (3.4%), ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (1.9%), and other (3.4%). The most common complications were C5 palsy (n = 7, 2.6%) and wound infection (n = 7, 2.6%). Of the 7 cases of postoperative C5 palsies in this study, 6 occurred on the side of the open door. Of the C5 palsies, 2 were mild, 3 were moderate, and 2 were severe. Two of the 7 C5 palsies had a delayed (> 24 hours) onset. The C5 palsy incidence after CLF was 2.7% with no side preference.

CONCLUSIONS

C5 palsy after cervical decompression for myelopathy is a known occurrence, with a rate of 2.6% in the current study. The authors found that C5 palsies more commonly occur on the open side of the laminoplasty. This could be due to a greater manipulation of the nerve root on the side of the open door or greater stretch of the C5 root on the open-door side. If clinical symptoms and anatomical stenosis are symmetric, the authors recommend creating the laminoplasty hinge on the patient’s dominant side to minimize potential loss of dominant proximal arm function.

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Three-level ACDF versus 3-level laminectomy and fusion: are there differences in outcomes? An analysis of the Quality Outcomes Database cervical spondylotic myelopathy cohort

Vardhaan S. Ambati, Mohamed Macki, Andrew K. Chan, Giorgos D. Michalopoulos, Vivian P. Le, Alysha B. Jamieson, Dean Chou, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Oren N. Gottfried, Erica F. Bisson, Anthony L. Asher, Domagoj Coric, Eric A. Potts, Kevin T. Foley, Michael Y. Wang, Kai-Ming Fu, Michael S. Virk, John J. Knightly, Scott Meyer, Paul Park, Cheerag Upadhyaya, Mark E. Shaffrey, Avery L. Buchholz, Luis M. Tumialán, Jay D. Turner, Brandon A. Sherrod, Regis W. Haid Jr., Mohamad Bydon, and Praveen V. Mummaneni

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.