Study design: The Cervical Spine Research Society study is a prospective, nonrandomized, multicenter investigation of patients with cervical spondylosis and disc disease. In this analysis, only patients who had radiculopathy without myelopathy as the predominant symptom were considered.
Objectives: To determine demographics, surgeon treatment practices, and outcomes in patients with symptomatic radiculopathy.
Summary of background data: Current data on patient demographics and treatment practices of surgeons do not exist. There are no published prospective studies in which outcomes, including pain, function, neurologic symptoms, and ability to perform activities of daily living, are systematically quantified.
Methods: Patients were recruited by participating Cervical Spine Research Society surgeons. Demographic, symptomologic, and functional patient data were compiled from surveys of patients and physicians completed at the time of initial examination, and outcomes were assessed from surveys of patients completed after treatment. Data were compiled and statistically analyzed by a blinded third party.
Results: Of the 503 patients enrolled by 41 CSRS surgeons, 246 (49%) had radiculopathy. Patients had a mean duration of symptoms of 26.7 months (range, 8 weeks to > 352 months) and a mean age of 48.1 +/- 12.42 years; 44.7% were female. Surgery was recommended for 86 (35%) of these patients. Of the 155 patients on whom there were follow-up data, 51 (33%) underwent surgery, whereas 104 (67%) received medical treatment. Surgically treated patients had a significant improvement in pain, neurologic symptoms, functional status, and ability to perform activities of daily living. A significant number of patients who underwent surgery reported persistent excruciating or horrible pain on follow-up (26%). Patients treated medically also had significant improvement in pain and overall functional status.
Conclusions: In summary, this study represents the first in-depth, prospective outcome analysis of patients with cervical spondylotic and discogenic radiculopathy.