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