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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 33-41

Anterior surgical options for cervical spondylotic myelopathy

1 Division of Neurosurgery, State University of Campinas, Campinas, SP, Brazil
2 Department of Orthopedics, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Andrei Fernandes Joaquim
Division of Neurosurgery, State University of Campinas, Campinas, SP
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/isj.isj_39_18

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Cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) is one of the most common among causes of spinal cord dysfunction worldwide. In this article, we provide a broad narrative review of the options to treat CSM from an anterior approach to the cervical spine. Anterior procedures are effective and safe, especially for one or two level disease (although can be used up to 7-8 levels). This approach can be used in patients with lordotic, neutral, or kyphotic cervical spine alignment and provide excellent access for direct neural decompression. The most common adverse effects of anterior cervical operations are dysphagia and dysphonia, but fortunately, these are mild and transient in the majority of cases. Severe complications, such as vertebral arterial injury, spinal cord injury or airway compromise, are rare but must be taken into consideration, especially when additional risk factors are present (multilevel procedures, revision surgeries, older, and infirm patients). The primary anterior cervical procedures for treating CSM are anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF), anterior cervical corpectomy and fusion (ACCF), oblique cervical corpectomy, and cervical disc arthroplasty. A combination (hybrid) of ACDF and ACCF is also utilized as an option to allow for wide decompression, deformity correction, and provide more surface area of exposed, and bleeding cancellous bone. More recently, the senior author (KDR) has utilized a hemi-corpectomy and fusion hybrid technique which will be described in this text. Advantages and disadvantages of each of these options are discussed in detail, as well as the need for posterior instrumentation supplementation in selected patients; such as those with concomitant cervical deformity, poor bone quality, or those at risk for pseudarthrosis following multilevel arthrodeses. The management of patients with cervical spinal cord compression without myelopathy or with mild symptoms is also discussed.

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