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Lisheng Kan, Jian Kang, Rui Gao, Xiongsheng Chen and Lianshun Jia

Object

To date, formulation of the optimal surgical protocol for noncontiguous multilevel cervical spondylosis remains controversial, and the corresponding clinical data continue to be limited. The purpose of this study was to compare the clinical and radiological outcomes of two hybrid reconstructive techniques in noncontiguous 3-level cervical spondylosis (2 contiguous disc levels and 1 “skip” disc level [nonoperated level between 2 operated levels]). The incidence of adjacent-segment degeneration (ASD) was also evaluated.

Methods

Sixty-three consecutive patients with noncontiguous 3-level cervical spondylosis who underwent two different hybrid methods of treatment were retrospectively reviewed. The patients were divided into 2 groups, the fusion group and the arthroplasty group. A titanium mesh cage and an anterior cervical plate were used after the anterior cervical corpectomy, and then a stand-alone cage (the fusion group) or an artificial cervical disc (the arthroplasty group) was used after the discectomy. Clinical outcomes were assessed using the Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) scale score and the JOA scale score improvement rate preoperatively and during follow-up. Radiological results were assessed using global angle and global range of motion (ROM) of the cervical spine. The ASD was also evaluated.

Results

The JOA scores of the patients significantly improved postoperatively and were well maintained within the follow-up period, as did the JOA scale score improvement rate. The mean global angle of the cervical spine of the patients significantly increased postoperatively. At the last follow-up evaluation, the mean global ROM was retained by patients in the arthroplasty group (p > 0.05) but not by patients in the fusion group (p = 0.00). There was no significant difference in the incidence of ASD between the 2 groups (p = 0.114). However, at the skip levels, patients in the fusion group had a higher incidence of ASD than patients in the arthroplasty group (p = 0.038).

Conclusions

Both of the hybrid procedures (anterior cervical corpectomy and fusion [ACCF] + anterior cervical discectomy and fusion, and ACCF + cervical disc arthroplasty [CDA]) yielded favorable clinical and radiological outcomes in the treatment of noncontiguous 3-level cervical spondylosis. Moreover, the ACCF + CDA procedure may have the ability to decrease the likelihood of ASD in appropriate patients.