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Cervical spondylosis: the role of anterior instrumentation after decompression and fusion

G R Zaveri, M Ford
Journal of Spinal Disorders 2001, 14 (1): 10-6
The role of plate stabilization after anterior decompression and fusion of the cervical spine for cervical spondylosis remains controversial. This study aimed to justify the use of instrumentation to stabilize anterior cervical fusion for cervical spondylosis through a risk-benefit analysis and comparison of the results with those reported in the literature on the outcome of fusion without instrumentation. The authors retrospectively reviewed the charts and radiographs of 47 patients with symptoms secondary to cervical spondylosis who underwent anterior cervical decompression and instrumented fusion. After operation, patients were mobilized early, and neither neurologic injury nor infection developed in any patient. At an average 3.4 years after surgery, the rate of graft complications, including nonunion (4.26%), was low, whereas the rate of hardware-related morbidity was minimal (6%). An average 0.4 degrees loss of the intraoperative correction of cervical lordosis was observed at the last follow-up examination. Accelerated degenerative changes at levels adjacent to the fusion were seen in 17% of patients, but only two patients required repeat operation for persistent symptoms. The use of instrumentation to stabilize the cervical spine in patients with cervical spondylosis after anterior decompression and fusion is relatively safe. It permits early pain-free mobilization, successfully maintains sagittal cervical spine alignment, and promotes consistent and reliable spinal fusion.

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