Treatment of cervical myelopathy by posterior approach: Laminoplasty vs. laminectomy with posterior fixation, are there differences from a clinical and radiological point of view?

Neurocirugia (Astur : Engl Ed). 2022 Nov-Dec;33(6):284-292. doi: 10.1016/j.neucie.2021.11.002. Epub 2021 Nov 17.


Introduction: Cervical degenerative myelopathy is a variable and progressive degenerative disease caused by chronic compression of the spinal cord. Surgical approaches for the cervical spine can be performed anteriorly and/or posteriorly. Regarding the posterior approach, there are 2 fundamental techniques: laminoplasty and laminectomy with posterior fixation (LPF). There is still controversy concerning the technique in terms of outcome and complications. The aim of the present work is to analyze from the clinical and radiological point of view these 2 techniques: laminoplasty and LPF.

Materials and methods: A historical cohort of 39 patients was reviewed (12 LFP and 27 laminoplasty) including patients operated in a 10 years period at the Hospital Universitario La Paz with a follow-up of 12 months after surgery was carried out. The clinical results were analyzed and compared using the Nurick scale and the modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association Scale (mJOA) and the radiological results using the Cobb angle, Sagittal Vertical Axis, T1 Slope and alignment (measured by Cobb-T1 Sloppe).

Results: Significant differences were observed in the postoperative improvement of the Nurick scale (p = 0.008) and mJOA (p = 0.018) in the laminoplasty group. In LFP there is a tendency to a greater improvement, but statistical significance is not reached due to the low sample size of this group. No statistically significant differences were observed in the radiological variables. Regarding the total number of complications, a higher number was observed in the laminoplasty group (7 cases) versus LFP (one case), but no statistically significant differences were observed.

Conclusions: Laminoplasty and LFP are both safe and effective procedures in the treatment of cervical degenerative myelopathy. The findings of our study demonstrate statistically significant clinical improvement based on the Nurick and mJOA scales with laminoplasty. No significant differences in terms of complications or radiological variables were observed between the 2 techniques.

Keywords: Cervical degenerative myelopathy; Cervical lordosis; Escala de Nurick; Escala de mJOA; Laminectomy with posterior fixation; Laminectomía con fijación posterior; Laminoplastia; Laminoplasty; Lordosis cervical; Mielopatía cervical degenerativa; Nurick scale; mJOA scale.

MeSH terms

  • Cervical Vertebrae / diagnostic imaging
  • Cervical Vertebrae / surgery
  • Humans
  • Laminectomy / methods
  • Laminoplasty* / adverse effects
  • Laminoplasty* / methods
  • Spinal Cord Diseases* / diagnostic imaging
  • Spinal Cord Diseases* / surgery
  • Treatment Outcome