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Cervical spinal stenosis: outcome after anterior corpectomy, allograft reconstruction, and instrumentation

Matthew T Mayr, Brian R Subach, Christopher H Comey, Gerald E Rodts, Regis W Haid
Journal of Neurosurgery 2002, 96 (1 Suppl): 10-6

OBJECT: The authors undertook a retrospective single-institution review of 261 patients who underwent anterior cervical corpectomy, reconstruction with allograft fibula, and placement of an anterior plating system for the treatment of cervical spinal stenosis to assess fusion rates and procedure-related complications.

METHODS: Between October 1989 and June 1995, 261 patients with cervical stenosis underwent cervical corpectomy, allograft fibular bone fusion, and placement of instrumentation for spondylosis (197 patients), postlaminectomy kyphosis (27 patients), acute fracture (25 patients), or ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (12 patients). All patients suffered neck pain and cervical myelopathy or radiculopathy refractory to medical management. Of the procedures, 133 involved a single vertebral level (two disc levels and one vertebral body), 96 involved two levels, 31 involved three levels, and a single patient underwent a four-level procedure. Clinical and radiographic outcomes were assessed postoperatively and at 6-month intervals. The mean follow-up period was 25.7 months (range 24-47 months). Successful fusion was documented in 226 patients (86.6%). A stable, fibrous union developed in 33 asymptomatic patients (12.6%), whereas an unstable pseudarthrosis in two patients (0.8%) required reoperation. There were no cases of infection, spinal fluid leakage, or postoperative hematoma. Complications included transient unilateral upper-extremity weakness (two patients), dysphagia (35 transient and seven permanent), and hoarseness (35 transient and two permanent). In 14 patients (5.4%) radiological studies demonstrated evidence of hardware failure.

CONCLUSIONS: Cervical corpectomy with fibular allograft reconstruction and anterior plating is an effective means of achieving spinal decompression and stabilization in cases of anterior cervical disease. Symptomatic improvement was achieved in 99.2% of patients. In their series the authors found a fusion rate of 86.6% and rates of permanent hoarseness of 3.4%, dysphagia of 0.7%, and an instrumentation failure rate of 5.4%.

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