Background: Cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) is one of the most common causes of spinal cord impairment in elderly patients. However, a consensus has yet to be reached on the ideal method of surgical intervention. In this study, we investigated serial changes of radiological findings after three-level anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) and multilevel laminoplasty and attempted to identify the radiological parameters affecting long-term clinical outcomes in CSM. Methods: Of the 152 patients with multilevel CSM treated with three-level ACDF and multilevel laminoplasty, 42 had complete radiological parameters both before and 2 years after surgery (three-level ACDF, 22 patients; multilevel laminoplasty, 20 patients). Radiological parameters included spinal cord signal intensity (SI) changes on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Clinical outcomes including the Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) score, neck disability index (NDI), Oswestry disability index (ODI), and 36- Item Short Form Health Survey score were measured. Results: The ACDF group showed significant restoration of segmental lordosis postoperatively (preoperatively: 2.21°, 6 months: 8.37°, P=0.026), and segmental and cervical range of motion (ROM) was markedly reduced and well maintained until the final follow-up (preoperatively: 25.48°, 24 months: 4.35°, P<0.001; preoperatively: 41.71°, 24 months: 20.18°, P<0.001). The recovery rates of the JOA score were 42.85% and 57.40% in the ACDF and laminoplasty groups, respectively, although this difference was not statistically significant. Multivariate regression analysis demonstrated that signal change on MRI significantly affected the recovery rate (P=0.003). The visual analog scale (VAS) score and NDI decreased considerably only in the laminoplasty group, and device complications were confirmed only in the ACDF group (incidence rate =36.5%). Conclusions: Multilevel laminoplasty showed better radiological and similar clinical outcomes. ACDF had more surgical complications. Spinal cord SI change on preoperative MRI was the independent risk factor for poor clinical outcomes. We recommend laminoplasty instead of three-level ACDF to treat multilevel CSM.
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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging