Crossing the Cervicothoracic Junction During Posterior Cervical Fusion for Myelopathy Is Associated With Superior Radiographic Parameters But Similar Clinical Outcomes.Neurosurgery. 2020 Jun 23 [Online ahead of print]N
For laminectomy and posterior spinal fusion (LPSF) surgery for cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM), the evidence is unclear as to whether fusions should cross the cervicothoracic junction (CTJ).
To compare LPSF outcomes between those with and without lower instrumented vertebrae (LIV) crossing the CTJ.
A consecutive series of adults undergoing LPSF for CSM from 2012 to 2018 with a minimum of 12-mo follow-up were identified. LPSF with subaxial upper instrumented vertebrae and LIV between C6 and T2 were included. Clinical and radiographic outcomes were compared.
A total of 79 patients were included: 46 crossed the CTJ (crossed-CTJ) and 33 did not. The mean follow-up was 22.2 mo (minimum: 12 mo). Crossed-CTJ had higher preoperative C2-7 sagittal vertical axis (cSVA) (33.3 ± 16.0 vs 23.8 ± 12.4 mm, P = .01) but similar preoperative cervical lordosis (CL) and CL minus T1-slope (CL minus T1-slope) (P > .05, both comparisons). The overall reoperation rate was 3.8% (crossed-CTJ: 2.2% vs not-crossed: 6.1%, P = .37). In adjusted analyses, crossed-CTJ was associated with superior cSVA (β = -9.7; P = .002), CL (β = 6.2; P = .04), and CL minus T1-slope (β = -6.6; P = .04), but longer operative times (β = 46.3; P = .001). Crossed- and not-crossed CTJ achieved similar postoperative patient-reported outcomes [Visual Analog Scale (VAS) neck pain, VAS arm pain, Nurick Grade, Modified Japanese Orthopedic Association Scale, Neck Disability Index, and EuroQol-5D] in adjusted multivariable analyses (adjusted P > .05). For the entire cohort, higher postoperative CL was associated with lower postoperative arm pain (adjusted Pearson's r -0.1, P = .02). No postoperative cervical radiographic parameters were associated with neck pain (P > .05).
Subaxial LPSF for CSM that crossed the CTJ were associated with superior radiographic outcomes for cSVA, CL, and CL minus T1-slope, but longer operative times. There were no differences in neck pain or reoperation rate.