Study design: Prospective observational cohort study.
Objective: To determine if postoperative cervical sagittal balance is an independent predictor of health-related quality of life outcome after surgery for cervical spondylotic myelopathy.
Summary of background data: Both ventral and dorsal fusion procedures for CSM are effective at reducing the symptoms of myelopathy. The importance of cervical sagittal balance in predicting overall health-related quality of life outcome after ventral versus dorsal surgery for CSM has not been previously explored.
Methods: A prospective, nonrandomized cohort of 49 patients undergoing dorsal and ventral fusion surgery for CSM was examined. Preoperative and postoperative C2-C7 sagittal vertical axis was measured on standing lateral cervical spine radiographs. Outcome was assessed with 2 disease-specific measures-the modified Japanese Orthopedic Association scale and the Oswestry Neck Disability Index and 2 generalized outcome measures-the Short-Form 36 physical component summary (SF-36 PCS) and Euro-QOL-5D. Assessments were performed preoperatively, and at 3 months, 6 months, and 1 year postoperatively. Statistical analyses were performed using SAS version 9.3 (SAS Institute).
Results: Most patients experienced improvement in all outcome measures regardless of approach. Both preoperative and postoperative C2-C7 sagittal vertical axis measurements were independent predictors of clinically significant improvement in SF-36 PCS scores (P = 0.03 and P = 0.02). The majority of patients with C2-C7 sagittal vertical axis values greater than 40 mm did not improve from an overall health-related quality of life perspective (SF-36 PCS) despite improvement in myelopathy. The postoperative sagittal balance value was inversely correlated with a clinically significant improvement of SF-36 PCS scores in patients undergoing dorsal surgery but not ventral surgery (P = 0.03 vs. P = 0.93).
Conclusion: Preoperative and postoperative sagittal balance measurements independently predict clinical outcomes after surgery for CSM.
Level of evidence: 2.