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Zhipeng Chen, Shuizhong Cen, Jionglin Wu, Rui Guo, Zhenhua Liu, and Liangbin Gao

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to compare a traditional cervical cage with a zero-profile (ZP) fixation device in patients who underwent three-level anterior cervical decompression and fusion (ACDF) in terms of patient-reported outcomes (visual analog scale [VAS], Japanese Orthopaedic Association [JOA], and Neck Disability Index [NDI] scores), radiographic findings (sagittal alignment 2 years after surgery and likelihood of fusion), and complications.

METHODS

This study was a retrospective case series. Between January 2012 and December 2016, 58 patients with cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) who required three-level ACDF procedures, as identified by spinal surgeons, were treated with three-level ACDF and an anterior cage-plate construct (ACPC) (n = 38) or a three-level stand-alone ZP device (n = 20). On the basis of patient choice, patients were divided into two groups (ACPC group and ZP group). All patients completed a minimum of 2 years of follow-up. Patient-reported outcome scores included VAS, JOA, and NDI scores. The radiographic findings included sagittal alignment and likelihood of fusion 2 years after surgery. Data related to patient-reported outcomes and sagittal alignment were collected preoperatively, postoperatively, and at the final follow-up. Intraoperative and postoperative complications were also documented and analyzed.

RESULTS

The clinical outcomes, including VAS, JOA, and NDI scores, showed improvement in both groups, and no significant difference was observed between the two groups. Sagittal alignment and height of the fused segments were restored in all patients. However, the authors found no differences between the ZP and ACPC groups, and the groups exhibited similar fusion rates. The authors found no differences in complications, including dysphagia, adjacent-segment degeneration, and postoperative hematoma, between the groups.

CONCLUSIONS

Use of ZP implants yielded satisfactory long-term clinical and radiological outcomes that were similar to those of the standard ACPC. Additionally, the rates of complications between the groups were not significantly different. Although the best surgical option for multilevel CSM remains controversial, the results of this work suggest that ACDF with the ZP device is feasible, safe, and effective, even for multilevel CSM.