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Neurosurgery. 1998 Aug;43(2):257-65; discussion 265-7.

Anterior cervical corpectomy for cervical spondylotic myelopathy.

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Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville 32610-0265, USA.



To evaluate the efficacy of anterior surgery for the treatment of cervical spondylotic myelopathy, we have reviewed our experience with anterior cervical corpectomy (ACC) at the University of Florida, specifically analyzing neurological outcomes and complications. These results have been compared with historical control subjects receiving laminectomy or "no treatment."


Between 1982 and 1992, 93 ACC operations were performed for the primary diagnosis of cervical spondylotic myelopathy. This consecutive series of patients was reviewed retrospectively. Age, gender, pre- and postoperative myelopathy severity, number of levels decompressed, and neurological complications were assessed. Myelopathy severity was graded using the Nurick myelopathy grading system. The average follow-up period was 39 months (range, 2-137 mo).


Symptomatic improvement was achieved for 92% of patients (F = 28.9, df = 2172, P < 0.001). Nurick scores reflected improvement for 86% of patients, with the conditions of 13% remaining unchanged and only one patient showing worsening. Preoperative myelopathy severity was weakly correlated with age (P < 0.05) but was not correlated with gender or number of levels decompressed. Similarly, postoperative myelopathy severity was not significantly correlated with age, gender, preoperative myelopathy severity, or number of levels decompressed. ACC-treated patients showed an average improvement of 1.24 points on the Nurick scale, compared with an improvement of 0.07 points for patients treated with laminectomy (P < 0.001) and a deterioration of 0.23 points for patients undergoing conservative treatment (P < 0.001). Complications were slightly more likely to occur in older patients (P < 0.05). The number of levels decompressed was not significantly correlated with complications. Only one permanent neurological complication was seen in this series of patients.


We conclude that ACC is a safe and effective treatment for cervical spondylotic myelopathy. In an average of 39 months, ACC showed improved results in terms of myelopathy scores, compared with historical control subjects receiving either no treatment or laminectomy. Age, gender, preoperative myelopathy severity, and extent of disease were not negative predictors of clinical outcomes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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