Background: Decompression through an anterior approach is theoretically effective for the surgical treatment of cervical spondylotic amyotrophy (CSA), because the pathology usually locates at the anterior side. However, most previous studies investigated posterior surgery or a mix of anterior surgery and posterior surgery in their investigation. Only a few small case series have investigated the surgical outcomes of anterior decompression and fusion (ADF). Therefore, we conducted a multicenter retrospective study that included patients who underwent ADF for proximal-type CSA.
Methods: We analyzed the outcomes of 77 consecutive spinal surgeries performed on proximal-type CSA patients who underwent ADF. Preoperative and postoperative manual muscle tests (MMT) and the patients' backgrounds, radiological findings, and complications were reviewed. We divided the cases into two groups, good-outcome group (MMT improvement ≧ 2 or improved to MMT 5) and poor-outcome group (others) and evaluated the prognostic factors for outcomes.
Results: Of the 77 patients, 48 (62%) showed good neurological outcome. Multiple compressive lesions at anterior horn (AH) and/or ventral nerve roots (VNRs) were detected in 66 patients (85.7%) on the magnetic resonance images. The patients with a single compressive lesion at VNR or AH tended to show good neurological recovery when compare to those with multiple lesions. Age and duration of symptoms were related to the poor outcome in univariate analysis. Duration of symptoms was an independent factor associated with postoperative neurological outcome. The cut-off value for poor outcome was 7.0 months for the symptom duration (sensitivity: 79%, specificity: 54%, area under the curve: 0.69).
Conclusions: Patients with proximal-CSA were more likely to have multiple compressive lesions at an AH and/or a VNR. The prognostic factor for poor neurological outcome was duration of symptoms of ≥7 months.
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