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Sun-Joon Yoo, Jeong-Yoon Park, Dong-Kyu Chin, Keun-Su Kim, Yong-Eun Cho, and Kyung-Hyun Kim

OBJECTIVE

Mechanical complications should be considered following the correction of multilevel posterior cervical instrumented fusion. This study aimed to investigate clinical data on the patients’ pre- and postoperative cervical alignment in terms of the incidence of mechanical complications after multilevel posterior cervical instrumented fusion.

METHODS

Between January 2008 and December 2018, 156 consecutive patients who underwent posterior cervical laminectomy and instrumented fusion surgery of 4 or more levels and were followed up for more than 2 years were included in this study. Age, sex, bone mineral density (BMD), BMI, mechanical complications, and pre- and postoperative radiographic factors were analyzed using multivariate logistic regression analysis to investigate the factors related to mechanical complications.

RESULTS

Of the 156 patients, 114 were men and 42 were women; the mean age was 60.38 years (range 25–83 years), and the mean follow-up duration of follow-up was 37.56 months (range 24–128 months). Thirty-seven patients (23.7%) experienced mechanical complications, and 6 of them underwent revision surgery. The significant risk factors for mechanical complications were low BMD T-score (−1.36 vs −0.58, p = 0.001), a large number of fused vertebrae (5.08 vs 4.54, p = 0.003), a large preoperative C2–7 sagittal vertical axis (SVA; 32.28 vs 23.24 mm, p = 0.002), and low preoperative C2–7 lordosis (1.85° vs 8.83°, p = 0.001). The clinical outcomes demonstrated overall improvement in both groups; however, the neck visual analog scale, Neck Disability Index, and Japanese Orthopaedic Association scores after surgery were significantly worse in the mechanical complication group compared with the group without mechanical complications.

CONCLUSIONS

Low BMD, a large number of fused vertebrae, a large preoperative C2–7 SVA, and low C2–7 lordosis were significant risk factors for mechanical complications after posterior cervical fusion surgery. The results of this study could be valuable for preoperative counseling, medical treatment, or surgical planning when multilevel posterior cervical instrumented fusion surgery is performed.