Mid-term Outcomes of Anterior Cervical Fusion for Cervical Spondylosis With Sympathetic Symptoms

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Abstract

Study Design:

Prospective study.

Objective:

The purpose of this study is to elucidate mid-term outcomes of anterior cervical fusion for cervical spondylosis with sympathetic symptoms (CSSS).

Summary of Background Date:

The terminology, pathogenesis, diagnosis, and treatment of CSSS remain controversial. Surgical treatment of CSSS has been rarely reported. This is the first prospective study to evaluate the mid-term outcome of surgical treatment of CSSS.

Methods:

Thirty-one patients who were diagnosed with CSSS in 2006 were evaluated prospectively. All patients were assigned to undergo anterior cervical fusion with posterior longitudinal ligament (PLL) resection and followed up for ≥5 years. Sympathetic symptoms such as vertigo, headache, and tinnitus, etc. were evaluated using the sympathetic symptom 20-point score. Neurological status was assessed using the Japanese Orthopedic Association (JOA) score. Clinical and radiologic data were prospectively collected before surgery, and at 1 week, 2 months, 6 months, 2 years, and 5 years after surgery. Surgical complications and morbidities of other diseases during the follow-up were also recorded.

Results:

The mean 20-point score decreased significantly from 7.3±3.5 before surgery to 2.2±2.7 at the final follow-up (P<0.001), giving a mean recovery rate of 66.1%±50.3%. Good to excellent results were attained in 80.6% of these patients. The sympathetic symptoms were relieved in 23 of the 31 patients in the early postoperative period, and 5 patients in 2 months. No relief of sympathetic symptoms was found in 3 patients. The mean JOA score improved significantly from 12.0±1.9 before surgery to 14.8±1.5 by the end of the follow-up (P<0.001). No late neurological deterioration was found in this group.

Conclusions:

The mid-term outcomes of anterior cervical fusion with PLL resection for CSSS have been satisfactory. Differential diagnosis before surgery is of great importance. PLL may play a role in presenting sympathetic symptoms.

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