Object. The authors retrospectively evaluated the safety and efficacy of a decompression and fixation technique in the treatment of patients with multilevel cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM).
Methods. The authors describe the “hybrid decompression fixation” technique, a procedure involving a combination of corpectomies and discectomies to preserve a vertebra intact within the area of the decompression, thus augmenting mechanical stability. The authors retrospectively reviewed outcomes in 25 patients with multilevel CSM in whom the hybrid technique was performed between 1999 and 2003. Twelve patients underwent a single-level corpectomy and three-level discectomies. In 13 patients a two-level corpectomy and adjacent four-level discectomies were conducted, leaving a vertebral bridge the middle. All patients underwent fusion involving placement of disc and vertebral body cages filled with autogenous local bone and supplemental anterior dynamic plate fixation.
The mean preoperative Nurick grade was 3 and improvement in status was reflected by a postoperative decrease to 2.6 (p < 0.05). In one patient neurological deterioration was demonstrated. At the end of the follow-up period (mean 29 months) radiography revealed evidence of osseous fusion in 24 patients; fusion status could not be determined in one patient. No evidence of late-onset instrumentation-related failure was observed in any of the 25 patients.
Conclusions. The authors found the hybrid technique to be safe and efficient for anterior decompression in patients with multilevel CSM. The use of this technique obviates the need for staged circumferential procedures.