Study design: A retrospective study was conducted.
Objective: To compare the long-term outcomes after laminoplasty and anterior spinal fusion (ASF) for cervical myelopathy secondary to disc herniation.
Summary of background data: There have been no reports of long-term comparative studies of laminoplasty and ASF for cervical myelopathy due to disc herniation.
Methods: Of 21 patients who underwent ASF only between 1984 and 1987, 15 were followed up. Of 22 patients who underwent laminoplasty only between 1987 and 1994, 18 were followed up. There were no significant differences in preoperative prognostic factors between the 2 groups. Average follow-up was 15 years in the ASF group and 10 years in the laminoplasty group. Neurologic and radiologic results were examined.
Results: Laminoplasty and ASF provided equal neurologic improvement. In the ASF group, additional surgery was required for bone graft complications in 2 patients and for adjacent spondylosis in 1. In the laminoplasty group, one patient had C5 palsy, and intractable axial pain developed in 5 patients after surgery, but no patients needed additional surgery.
Conclusions: Because the 2 procedures provided the same neurologic improvement, the risks of bone graft complication with ASF must be weighed against the risks of chronic neck pain associated with laminoplasty for determining the best technique. Therefore, because our present surgical strategy for cervical myelopathy due to disc herniation, laminoplasty is the procedure of choice except for a patient with single level disc herniation without developmental canal stenosis, who is considered to be a good candidate for ASF.