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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 170-175

Return to work after surgical treatment for cervical spondylotic myelopathy

Department of Spine Surgery, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Rohit Amritanand
Department of Spine Surgery, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu.
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ISJ.ISJ_18_21

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Purpose: The purpose of the study was to determine the rate and predictors of return to work (RTW) after surgery for cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM). Overview of Literature: RTW is arguably the most important outcome following spine surgery from a patient’s perspective. But, to the best of our knowledge, there have been no reports in the English literature describing RTW among patients undergoing surgery for moderate-to-severe CSM. Materials and Methods: We included adult patients with CSM with Nurick grade ≥ 3 who underwent surgery. They were divided into two groups: those who returned to work within 6 months (group 1) and those who did not (group 2) and their outcomes were analyzed. Results: A total of 34 patients were included in the study. Baseline characteristics were comparable between the groups. Only 18 (52.9%) patients returned to work by 6 months. The nature of work had a statistically significant association with RTW by 6 months (P = 0.005) with failure to RTW specifically seen in manual laborers. Age, body mass index, symptom duration, pre-operative absenteeism, smoking, diabetes mellitus, number of levels operated, surgical approach, and post-operative complications did not have significant association with RTW. Better functional outcomes were seen in patients who returned to work as calculated using Nurick grade (P = 0.000) and modified Japanese Orthopedic Association score (P = 0.001). All the patients who returned to work and 75% of the patients who did not RTW were satisfied with the outcome of surgery (P = 0.039). Conclusion: In spite of functional improvement, CSM was associated with poor RTW with manual laborers being the most vulnerable group. This study will help surgeons modulate patient expectations as well as provide a platform for counseling them.

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