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Neurosurg Focus. 2011 Oct;31(4):E12. doi: 10.3171/2011.8.FOCUS11156.

Anterior corpectomy versus posterior laminoplasty: is the risk of postoperative C-5 palsy different?

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Department of Neurological Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, California, USA.



Both anterior cervical corpectomy and fusion (ACCF) and laminoplasty are effective treatments for selected cases of cervical stenosis. Postoperative C-5 palsies may occur with either anterior or posterior decompressive procedures; however, a direct comparison of C-5 palsy rates between the 2 approaches is not present in the literature. The authors sought to compare the C-5 palsy rate of ACCF versus laminoplasty.


The authors conducted a retrospective review of 31 ACCF (at C-4 or C-5) and 31 instrumented laminoplasty cases performed to treat cervical stenosis. The demographics of the groups were similar except for age (ACCF group mean age 53 years vs laminoplasty group mean age 62 years, p = 0.002). The mean number of levels treated was greater in the laminoplasty cohort (3.87 levels) than in the ACCF cohort (2.74 levels, p < 0.001). The mean preoperative Nurick grade of the laminoplasty cohort (2.61) was higher than the mean preoperative Nurick grade of the ACCF cohort (1.10, p < 0.001).


The overall clinical follow-up rate was 100%. The mean overall clinical follow-up was 15 months. There were no significant differences in the estimated blood loss or length of stay between the 2 groups (p > 0.05). There was no statistical difference between the complication or reoperation rates between the 2 groups (p = 0.184 and p = 0.238). There were 2 C-5 nerve root pareses in each group. Three of the 4 patients recovered full deltoid function, and the fourth patient recovered nearly full deltoid function at final follow-up. There was no statistical difference in the rate of deltoid paresis (6.5%) between the 2 groups (p = 1).


Both ACCF and laminoplasty are effective treatments for patients with cervical stenosis. The authors found no difference in the rate of deltoid paresis between ACCF and laminoplasty to treat cervical stenosis.

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