Improvements in Neck and Arm Pain Following an Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid


Study Design.

A retrospective analysis.


The aim of this study was to quantify improvements in Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) neck and arm pain, Neck Disability Index (NDI), and Short Form-12 (SF-12) Mental (MCS) and Physical (PCS) Composite scores following an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF).

Summary of Background Data.

ACDF is evaluated with patient-reported outcomes. However, the extent to which these outcomes improve following ACDF remains poorly defined.


A surgical registry of patients who underwent primary, one- or two-level ACDF during 2013 to 2015 was reviewed. Comparisons of VAS neck and arm, NDI, and SF-12 MCS and PCS scores were performed using paired t tests from preoperative to each postoperative time point. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to estimate the reduction in neck and arm pain over the first postoperative year. Subgroup analyses were performed for patients with predominant neck (pNP) or arm (pAP) pain, as well as for one- versus two-level ACDF.


Eighty-nine patients were identified. VAS neck and arm, NDI, and SF-12 PCS improved from preoperative scores at all postoperative time points (P < 0.05 for each). Across the first postoperative year, patients reported a 2.7-point (44.2%) reduction in neck and a 3.1-point (54.0%) reduction in arm pain (P < 0.05 for each). Sixty-one patients with pNP and 28 patients with pAP reported reductions in neck and arm pain over the first 6 months and 12 weeks postoperatively, respectively (P < 0.05 for each). Patients who underwent one-level ACDFs experienced a 47.2% reduction in neck pain and 55.1% reduction in arm pain over the first postoperative year (P < 0.05 for each), while those undergoing two-level ACDF experienced 39.7% and 49.2% for neck and arm, respectively (P < 0.05 for each).


This study suggests that patients experience significant improvements in neck and arm pain following ACDF regardless of presenting symptom. In addition, patients undergoing one-level ACDF report greater reductions in neck and arm pain than patients undergoing two-level fusion.


Level of Evidence: 4

Related Topics

    loading  Loading Related Articles