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Langston T. Holly, Paul G. Matz, Paul A. Anderson, Michael W. Groff, Robert F. Heary, Michael G. Kaiser, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Timothy C. Ryken, Tanvir F. Choudhri, Edward J. Vresilovic, and Daniel K. Resnick

Object

The objective of this systematic review was to use evidence-based medicine to identify valid, reliable, and responsive measures of functional outcome after treatment for cervical degenerative disease.

Methods

The National Library of Medicine and Cochrane Database were queried using MeSH headings and key words relevant to functional outcomes. Abstracts were reviewed after which studies meeting inclusion criteria were selected. The guidelines group assembled an evidentiary table summarizing the quality of evidence (Classes I–III). Disagreements regarding the level of evidence were resolved through an expert consensus conference. The group formulated recommendations that contained the degree of strength based on the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines network. Validation was done through peer review by the Joint Guidelines Committee of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons/Congress of Neurological Surgeons.

Results

Myelopathy Disability Index, Japanese Orthopaedic Association scale, 36-Item Short Form Health Survey, and gait analysis were found to be valid and reliable measures (Class II) for assessing cervical spondylotic myelopathy. The Patient-Specific Functional Scale, the North American Spine Society scale, and the Neck Disability Index were found to be reliable, valid, and responsive (Class II) for assessing radiculopathy for nonoperative therapy. The Cervical Spine Outcomes Questionnaire was a reliable and valid method (Class II) to assess operative therapy for cervical radiculopathy.

Conclusions

Several functional outcome measures are available to assess cervical spondylotic myelopathy and cervical radiculopathy.

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Paul G. Matz, Paul A. Anderson, Langston T. Holly, Michael W. Groff, Robert F. Heary, Michael G. Kaiser, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Timothy C. Ryken, Tanvir F. Choudhri, Edward J. Vresilovic, and Daniel K. Resnick

Object

The objective of this systematic review was to use evidence-based medicine to delineate the natural history of cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) and identify factors associated with clinical deterioration.

Methods

The National Library of Medicine and Cochrane Database were queried using MeSH headings and keywords relevant to the natural history of CSM. Abstracts were reviewed and studies meeting the inclusion criteria were selected. The guidelines group assembled an evidentiary table summarizing the quality of evidence (Classes I–III). Disagreements regarding the level of evidence were resolved through an expert consensus conference. The group formulated recommendations that contained the degree of strength based on the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines network. Validation was done through peer review by the Joint Guidelines Committee of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the Congress of Neurological Surgeons.

Results

The natural history of CSM is mixed: it may manifest as a slow, stepwise decline or there may be a long period of quiescence (Class III). Long periods of severe stenosis are associated with demyelination and may result in necrosis of both gray and white matter. With severe and/or long lasting CSM symptoms, the likelihood of improvement with nonoperative measures is low. Objectively measurable deterioration is rarely seen acutely in patients younger than 75 years of age with mild CSM (modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association scale score > 12; Class I). In patients with cervical stenosis without myelopathy, the presence of abnormal electromyography findings or the presence of clinical radiculopathy is associated with the development of symptomatic CSM in this patient population (Class I).

Conclusions

The natural history of CSM is variable, which may affect treatment decisions.

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Praveen V. Mummaneni, Michael G. Kaiser, Paul G. Matz, Paul A. Anderson, Michael W. Groff, Robert F. Heary, Langston T. Holly, Timothy C. Ryken, Tanvir F. Choudhri, Edward J. Vresilovic, and Daniel K. Resnick

Object

The objective of this systematic review was to use evidence-based medicine to compare the efficacy of different surgical techniques for the treatment of cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM).

Methods

The National Library of Medicine and Cochrane Database were queried using MeSH headings and keywords relevant to anterior and posterior cervical spine surgery and CSM. The guidelines group assembled an evidentiary table summarizing the quality of evidence (Classes I–III). The group formulated recommendations that contained the degree of strength based on the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines network. Validation was done through peer review by the Joint Guidelines Committee of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons/Congress of Neurological Surgeons.

Results

A variety of techniques have improved functional outcome after surgical treatment for CSM, including anterior cervical discectomy with fusion (ACDF), anterior cervical corpectomy with fusion (ACCF), laminoplasty, laminectomy, and laminectomy with fusion (Class III). Anterior cervical discectomy with fusion and ACCF appear to yield similar results in multilevel spine decompression for lesions at the disc level. The use of anterior plating allows for equivalent fusion rates between these techniques (Class III). If anterior fixation is not used, ACCF may provide a higher fusion rate than multilevel ACDF but also a higher graft failure rate than multilevel ACDF (Class III). Anterior cervical discectomy with fusion, ACCF, laminectomy, laminoplasty, and laminectomy with arthrodesis all provide near-term functional improvement for CSM. However, laminectomy is associated with late deterioration compared with the other types of anterior and posterior surgeries (Class III).

Conclusions

Multiple approaches exist with similar near-term improvements; however, laminectomy appears to have a late deterioration rate that may need to be considered when appropriate.

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Paul A. Anderson, Paul G. Matz, Michael W. Groff, Robert F. Heary, Langston T. Holly, Michael G. Kaiser, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Timothy C. Ryken, Tanvir F. Choudhri, Edward J. Vresilovic, and Daniel K. Resnick

Object

The objective of this systematic review was to use evidence-based medicine to examine the efficacy of cervical laminectomy and fusion for the treatment of cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM).

Methods

The National Library of Medicine and Cochrane Database were queried using MeSH headings and keywords relevant to cervical laminectomy, fusion, and CSM. Abstracts were reviewed, after which studies that met the inclusion criteria were selected. The guidelines group assembled an evidentiary table summarizing the quality of evidence (Class I–III). Disagreements regarding the level of evidence were resolved through an expert consensus conference. The group formulated recommendations which contained the degree of strength based on the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines network. Validation was done through peer-review by the Joint Guidelines Committee of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons/Congress of Neurological Surgeons.

Results

Cervical laminectomy with fusion (arthrodesis) improves functional outcome in patients with CSM and ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL). Functional improvement is similar to laminectomy or laminoplasty for patients with CSM and OPLL. In contrast to laminectomy, cervical laminectomy with fusion it is not associated with late deformity (Class III).

Conclusions

Laminectomy with fusion (arthrodesis) is an effective strategy to improve functional outcome in CSM and OPLL.

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Paul G. Matz, Langston T. Holly, Michael W. Groff, Edward J. Vresilovic, Paul A. Anderson, Robert F. Heary, Michael G. Kaiser, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Timothy C. Ryken, Tanvir F. Choudhri, and Daniel K. Resnick

Object

The objective of this systematic review was to use evidence-based medicine to identify the indications and utility of anterior cervical nerve root decompression.

Methods

The National Library of Medicine and Cochrane Database were queried using MeSH headings and key words relevant to surgical management of cervical radiculopathy. Abstracts were reviewed after which studies meeting inclusion criteria were selected. The guidelines group assembled an evidentiary table summarizing the quality of evidence (Classes I–III). Disagreements regarding the level of evidence were resolved through an expert consensus conference. The group formulated recommendations that contained the degree of strength based on the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines network. Validation was done through peer review by the Joint Guidelines Committee of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons/Congress of Neurological Surgeons.

Results

Anterior nerve root decompression via anterior cervical discectomy (ACD) with or without fusion for radiculopathy is associated with rapid relief (3–4 months) of arm/neck pain, weakness, and/or sensory loss compared with physical therapy (PT) or cervical collar immobilization. Anterior cervical discectomy and ACD with fusion (ACDF) are associated with longer term (12 months) improvement in certain motor functions compared to PT. Other rapid gains observed after anterior decompression (diminished pain, improved sensation, and improved strength in certain muscle groups) are also maintained over the course of 12 months. However, comparable clinical improvements with PT or cervical immobilization therapy are also present in these clinical modalities (Class I). Conflicting evidence exists as to the efficacy of anterior cervical foraminotomy with reported success rates of 52–99% but recurrent symptoms as high as 30% (Class III).

Conclusions

Anterior cervical discectomy, ACDF, and anterior cervical foraminotomy may improve cervical radicular symptoms. With regard to ACD and ACDF compared to PT or cervical immobilization, more rapid relief (within 3–4 months) may be seen with ACD or ACDF with maintenance of gains over the course of 12 months (Class I). Anterior cervical foraminotomy is associated with improvement in clinical function but the quality of data are weaker (Class III), and there is a wide range of efficacy (52–99%).

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Paul G. Matz, Timothy C. Ryken, Michael W. Groff, Edward J. Vresilovic, Paul A. Anderson, Robert F. Heary, Langston T. Holly, Michael G. Kaiser, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Tanvir F. Choudhri, and Daniel K. Resnick

Object

The objective of this systematic review was to use evidence-based medicine to identify the best techniques for anterior cervical nerve root decompression.

Methods

The National Library of Medicine and Cochrane Database were queried using MeSH headings and keywords relevant to techniques for the surgical management of cervical radiculopathy. The guidelines group assembled an evidentiary table summarizing the quality of evidence (Classes I–III). The group formulated recommendations that contained the degree of strength based on the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines network. Validation was done through peer-review by the Joint Guidelines Committee of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons/Congress of Neurological Surgeons.

Results

Both anterior cervical discectomy (ACD) and anterior cervical discectomy with fusion (ACDF) are equivalent treatment strategies for 1-level disease with regard to functional outcome (Class II). Anterior cervical discectomy with fusion may achieve a more rapid reduction of neck and arm pain compared to ACD with a reduced risk of kyphosis, although functional outcomes may be similar. Anterior cervical discectomy with fusion is not a lasting means of increasing foraminal or disc height compared to ACD. Anterior cervical plating (ACDF with instrumentation) improves arm pain (but not other clinical parameters) better than ACDF in the treatment of 2-level disease (Class II). With respect to 1-level disease, plating may reduce the risk of pseudarthrosis and graft problems (Class III) but does not necessarily improve clinical outcome alone (Class II). Cervical arthroplasty is recommended as an alternative to ACDF in selected patients for control of neck and arm pain (Class II).

Conclusions

Anterior cervical discectomy, ACDF, and arthroplasty are effective techniques for addressing surgical cervical radiculopathy.

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Michael G. Kaiser, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Paul G. Matz, Paul A. Anderson, Michael W. Groff, Robert F. Heary, Langston T. Holly, Timothy C. Ryken, Tanvir F. Choudhri, Edward J. Vresilovic, and Daniel K. Resnick

Object

The objective of this systematic review was to use evidence-based medicine to identify the best methodology for radiographic assessment of cervical subaxial fusion.

Methods

The National Library of Medicine and Cochrane Database were queried using MeSH headings and keywords relevant to cervical fusion. Abstracts were reviewed and studies meeting inclusion criteria were selected. The guidelines group assembled an evidentiary table summarizing the quality of evidence (Classes I–III). Disagreements regarding the level of evidence were resolved through an expert consensus conference. The group formulated recommendations that contained the degree of strength based on the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines network. Validation was done through peer review by the Joint Guidelines Committee of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons/Congress of Neurological Surgeons.

Results

Pseudarthrosis is best assessed through the absence of motion detected between the spinous processes on dynamic radiographs (Class II). The measurement of interspinous distance on dynamic radiographs of ≥ 2 mm is a more reliable indicator for pseudarthrosis than angular motion of 2° based on Cobb angle measurements (Class II). Similarly, it is also understood that the pseudarthrosis rate will increase as the threshold for allowable motion on dynamic radiographs decreases. The combination of interspinous distance measurements and identification of bone trabeculation is unreliable when performed by the treating surgeon (Class II). Identification of bone trabeculation on static radiographs should be considered a less reliable indicator of cervical arthrodesis than dynamic films (Class III).

Conclusions

Consideration should be given to dynamic radiographs and interspinous distance when assessing for pseudarthrosis.

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Paul G. Matz, Paul A. Anderson, Michael G. Kaiser, Langston T. Holly, Michael W. Groff, Robert F. Heary, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Timothy C. Ryken, Tanvir F. Choudhri, Edward J. Vresilovic, and Daniel K. Resnick

In March 2006, the Joint Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and Congress of Neurological Surgeons compiled an expert group to perform an evidence-based review of the clinical literature on management of cervical degenerative spine disease. This process culminated in the formation of the Guidelines for the Surgical Management of Cervical Degenerative Disease. The purpose of the Guidelines was to address questions regarding the therapy, diagnosis, and prognosis of cervical degenerative disease using an evidence-based approach. Development of an evidence-based review and recommendations is a multitiered process. Typical guideline development consists of 5 processes: 1) collection and selection of the evidence; 2) assessment of the quality and strength of the evidence; 3) analysis of the evidentiary data; 4) formulation of recommendations; and 5) guideline validation. This manuscript details the methodology in compiling the Guidelines for the Surgical Management of Cervical Degenerative Disease.

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Michael G. Kaiser, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Paul G. Matz, Paul A. Anderson, Michael W. Groff, Robert F. Heary, Langston T. Holly, Timothy C. Ryken, Tanvir F. Choudhri, Edward J. Vresilovic, and Daniel K. Resnick

Object

The objective of this systematic review was to use evidence-based medicine to identify the best methodology for diagnosis and treatment of anterior pseudarthrosis.

Methods

The National Library of Medicine and Cochrane Database were queried using MeSH headings and key words relevant to pseudarthrosis and cervical spine surgery. Abstracts were reviewed, after which studies meeting inclusion criteria were selected. The guidelines group assembled an evidentiary table summarizing the quality of evidence (Classes I–III). Disagreements regarding the level of evidence were resolved through an expert consensus conference. The group formulated recommendations that contained the degree of strength based on the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines network. Validation was done through peer review by the Joint Guidelines Committee of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons/Congress of Neurological Surgeons.

Results

Evaluation for pseudarthrosis is warranted, as there may be an association between clinical outcome and pseudarthrosis. The strength of this association cannot be accurately determined because of the variable incidence of symptomatic and asymptomatic pseudarthroses (Class III). Revision of a symptomatic pseudarthrosis may be considered because arthrodesis is associated with improved clinical outcome (Class III). Both posterior and anterior approaches have proven successful for surgical correction of an anterior pseudarthrosis. Posterior approaches may be associated with higher fusion rates following repair of an anterior pseudarthrosis (Class III).

Conclusions

If suspected, pseudarthrosis should be investigated because there may be an association between arthrodesis and outcome. However, the strength of this association cannot be accurately determined. Anterior and posterior approaches have been successful.

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Timothy C. Ryken, Robert F. Heary, Paul G. Matz, Paul A. Anderson, Michael W. Groff, Langston T. Holly, Michael G. Kaiser, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Tanvir F. Choudhri, Edward J. Vresilovic, and Daniel K. Resnick

Object

The objective of this systematic review was to use evidence-based medicine to examine the efficacy of cervical laminectomy for the treatment of cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM).

Methods

The National Library of Medicine and Cochrane Database were queried using MeSH headings and keywords relevant to cervical laminectomy and CSM. Abstracts were reviewed after which studies meeting inclusion criteria were selected. The guidelines group assembled an evidentiary table summarizing the quality of evidence (Classes I–III). Disagreements regarding the level of evidence were resolved through an expert consensus conference. The group formulated recommendations that contained the degree of strength based on the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines network. Validation was done through peer review by the Joint Guidelines Committee of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons/Congress of Neurological Surgeons.

Results

Laminectomy has improved functional outcome for symptomatic cervical myelopathy (Class III). The limitations of the technique are an increased risk of postoperative kyphosis compared to anterior techniques or laminoplasty or laminectomy with fusion (Class III). However, the development of kyphosis may not necessarily to diminish the clinical outcome (Class III).

Conclusions

Laminectomy is an acceptable therapy for near-term functional improvement of CSM (Class III). It is associated with development of kyphosis, however.