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Tsung-Hsi Tu, Chao-Hung Kuo, Wen-Cheng Huang, Li-Yu Fay, Henrich Cheng and Jau-Ching Wu

OBJECTIVE

Cigarette smoking can adversely affect bone fusion in patients who undergo anterior cervical discectomy and fusion. However, there is a paucity of data on smoking among patients who have undergone cervical disc arthroplasty (CDA). The present study aimed to compare the clinical and radiological outcomes of smokers to those of nonsmokers following CDA.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed the records of consecutive patients who had undergone 1- or 2-level CDA for cervical disc herniation or spondylosis and had a minimum 2-year follow-up. All patients were grouped into a smoking group, which consisted of those who had consumed cigarettes within 6 months prior to the CDA surgery, or a nonsmoking group, which consisted of those who had not consumed cigarettes at all or within 6 months of the CDA. Clinical outcomes were evaluated according to the visual analog scale for neck and arm pain, Neck Disability Index, Japanese Orthopaedic Association Scale, and Nurick Scale at each time point of evaluation. Radiological outcomes were assessed using radiographs and CT for multiple parameters, including segmental range of motion (ROM), neutral lordotic curve, and presence of heterotopic ossification (HO).

RESULTS

A total of 109 patients completed at least 2 years of follow-up and were analyzed (mean follow-up 42.3 months). There were 89 patients in the nonsmoking group and 20 in the smoking group. The latter group was younger and predominantly male (both p < 0.05) compared to the nonsmoking group. The two groups had similar improvements in all clinical outcomes after CDA compared to preoperatively. Radiological evaluations were also very similar between the two groups, except for two factors. The smoking group had well-preserved segmental ROM after CDA at an average of 8.1° (both pre- and postoperation). However, while the nonsmoking group remained mobile, segmental ROM decreased significantly (8.2° to 6.9°, p < 0.05) after CDA. There was a trend toward more HO development in the nonsmoking group than in the smoking group, but the difference was without significance (59.6% vs 50.0%, p = 0.43).

CONCLUSIONS

During an average 3.5 years of follow-up after 1- and 2-level CDA, cigarette smokers and nonsmokers had similar improvements in clinical outcomes. Moreover, segmental mobility was slightly better preserved in smokers. Since smoking status did not negatively impact outcomes, CDA may be a reasonable option for selected patients who have smoked.

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Li-Yu Fay, Wen-Cheng Huang, Chih-Chang Chang, Hsuan-Kan Chang, Tzu-Yun Tsai, Tsung-Hsi Tu, Ching-Lan Wu, Henrich Cheng and Jau-Ching Wu

OBJECTIVE

The pedicle screw–based Dynesys dynamic stabilization (DDS) has reportedly become a surgical option for lumbar spondylosis and spondylolisthesis. However, it is still unclear whether the dynamic construct remains mobile or eventually fuses. The aim of this study was to investigate the incidence of unintended facet arthrodesis after DDS and its association with spondylolisthesis.

METHODS

This retrospective study was designed to review 105 consecutive patients with 1- or 2-level lumbar spondylosis who were treated with DDS surgery. The patients were then divided into 2 groups according to preexisting spondylolisthesis or not. All patients underwent laminectomies, foraminotomies, and DDS. The clinical outcomes were measured using visual analog scale (VAS) scores for back and leg pain, Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) scores, and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) scores. All medical records, including pre- and postoperative radiographs, CT scans, and MR images, were also reviewed and compared.

RESULTS

A total of 96 patients who completed the postoperative follow-up for more than 30 months were analyzed. The mean age was 64.1 ± 12.9 years, and the mean follow-up duration was 46.3 ± 12.0 months. There were 45 patients in the spondylolisthesis group and 51 patients in the nonspondylolisthesis group. The overall prevalence rate of unintended facet fusion was 52.1% in the series of DDS. Patients with spondylolisthesis were older (67.8 vs 60.8 years, p = 0.007) and had a higher incidence rate of facet arthrodesis (75.6% vs 31.4%, p < 0.001) than patients without spondylolisthesis. Patients who had spondylolisthesis or were older than 65 years were more likely to have facet arthrodesis (OR 6.76 and 4.82, respectively). There were no significant differences in clinical outcomes, including VAS back and leg pain, ODI, and JOA scores between the 2 groups. Furthermore, regardless of whether or not unintended facet arthrodesis occurred, all patients experienced significant improvement (all p < 0.05) in the clinical evaluations.

CONCLUSIONS

During the mean follow-up of almost 4 years, the prevalence of unintended facet arthrodesis was 52.1% in patients who underwent DDS. Although the clinical outcomes were not affected, elderly patients with spondylolisthesis might have a greater chance of facet fusion. This could be a cause of the limited range of motion at the index levels long after DDS.

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Tsung-Hsi Tu, Chu-Yi Lee, Chao-Hung Kuo, Jau-Ching Wu, Hsuan-Kan Chang, Li-Yu Fay, Wen-Cheng Huang and Henrich Cheng

OBJECTIVE

The published clinical trials of cervical disc arthroplasty (CDA) have unanimously demonstrated the success of preservation of motion (average 7°–9°) at the index level for up to 10 years postoperatively. The inclusion criteria in these trials usually required patients to have evident mobility at the level to be treated (≥ 2° on lateral flexion-extension radiographs) prior to the surgery. Although the mean range of motion (ROM) remained similar after CDA, it was unclear in these trials if patients with less preoperative ROM would have different outcomes than patients with more ROM.

METHODS

A series of consecutive patients who underwent CDA at the level of C5–6 were followed up and retrospectively reviewed. The indications for surgery were medically refractory cervical radiculopathy, myelopathy, or both, caused by cervical disc herniation or spondylosis. All patients were assigned to 1 of 2 groups: a less-mobile group, which consisted of those patients who had an ROM of ≤ 5° at C5–6 preoperatively, or a more-mobile group, which consisted of patients whose ROM at C5–6 was > 5° preoperatively. Clinical outcomes, including visual analog scale, Neck Disability Index, and Japanese Orthopaedic Association Scale scores, were evaluated at each time point. Radiological outcomes were also assessed.

RESULTS

A total of 60 patients who had follow-up for more than 2 years were analyzed. There were 27 patients in the less-mobile group (mean preoperative ROM 3.0°) and 33 in the more-mobile group (mean ROM 11.7°). The 2 groups were similar in demographics, including age, sex, diabetes, and cigarette smoking. Both groups had significant improvements in clinical outcomes, with no significant differences between the 2 groups. However, the radiological evaluations demonstrated remarkable differences. The less-mobile group had a greater increase in ΔROM than the more-mobile group (ΔROM 5.5° vs 0.1°, p = 0.001), though the less-mobile group still had less segmental mobility (ROM 8.5° vs 11.7°, p = 0.04). The rates of complications were similar in both groups.

CONCLUSIONS

Preoperative segmental mobility did not alter the clinical outcomes of CDA. The preoperatively less-mobile (ROM ≤ 5°) discs had similar clinical improvements and greater increase of segmental mobility (ΔROM), but remained less mobile, than the preoperatively more-mobile (ROM > 5°) discs at 2 years postoperatively.

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Hsuan-Kan Chang, Wen-Cheng Huang, Tsung-Hsi Tu, Li-Yu Fay, Chao-Hung Kuo, Chih-Chang Chang, Ching-Lan Wu, Jiing-Feng Lirng, Jau-Ching Wu, Henrich Cheng and Shih-Ming Hsu

OBJECTIVE

One- and two-level cervical disc arthroplasty (CDA) has been compared to anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) in several large-scale, prospective, randomized trials that have demonstrated similar clinical outcomes. However, whether these results would be similar when treating 3-level disc herniation and/or spondylosis has remained unanswered. This study aimed to investigate the differences between 3-level CDA and ACDF.

METHODS

A series of 50 patients who underwent 3-level CDA at C3–7 was retrospectively reviewed and compared with another series of 50 patients (age- and sex-matched controls) who underwent ACDF at C3–7. Clinical outcomes were measured using the visual analog scale (VAS) for neck and arm pain, the modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association (mJOA) scale, and the Neck Disability Index (NDI). Radiological outcomes included range of motion (ROM) at the index levels. Every patient was evaluated by CT for the presence of fusion in the ACDF group. Also, complication profiles were investigated.

RESULTS

The demographics and levels of distribution in both groups were very similar. During the follow-up period of 24 months, clinical outcomes improved (overall and respectively in each group) for both the CDA and ACDF patients when compared with the patients’ preoperative condition. There were essentially few differences between the two groups in terms of neck and arm pain VAS scores, mJOA scores, and NDI scores preoperatively and at 3, 6, 12, and 24 months postoperatively. After the 3-level surgery, the CDA group had an increased mean ROM of approximately 3.4°, at 25.2° ± 8.84°, compared to their preoperative ROM (21.8° ± 7.20°) (p = 0.001), whereas the ACDF group had little mobility (22.8° ± 5.90° before and 1.0° ± 1.28° after surgery; p < 0.001). The mean operative time, estimated blood loss, and complication profiles were similar for both groups.

CONCLUSIONS

In this selectively matched retrospective study, clinical outcomes after 3-level CDA and ACDF were similar during the 2-year follow-up period. CDA not only successfully preserved but slightly increased the mobility at the 3 index levels. However, the safety and efficacy of 3-level CDA requires more long-term data for validatation.