Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion Provides Better Surgical Outcomes Than Posterior Laminoplasty in Elderly Patients With C3-4 Level Myelopathy

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Study Design.

Retrospective analyses of prospectively collected data regarding 180 patients with cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM).


To detect the characteristics of C3-4 level CSM in elderly patients (C3-4CSM) (main analysis) and to validate the postoperative outcomes of anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) and of laminoplasty (LAMP) (subgroup analysis).

Summary of Background Data.

It remains unclear which surgical technique offers the best outcomes for CSM.


The main analysis included 180 patients with CSM, divided into two groups (C3-4CSM group, n = 46; conventional CSM group, n = 134) according to the findings of the preoperative physical examination and magnetic resonance imaging. The subgroup analysis included 46 patients with C3-4CSM, divided into two groups (ACDF group, n = 21; LAMP group, n = 25) according to surgical technique. Preoperative demographics and postoperative outcomes were compared.


The age at surgery was higher, disease duration was shorter, and preoperative Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) score was lower in the C3-4CSM group than in the conventional CSM group. Although the C3-4 range of motion was significantly higher, that of other levels was significantly lower in the C3-4CSM group. The anteroposterior diameter for levels C3-C7 was significantly larger in the C3-4CSM group. In the subgroup analysis using the repeated-measures analysis of variance, the postoperative JOA scores, and visual analog scale of neck pain were significantly better in the ACDF group.


Higher age, shorter disease duration, and worse JOA scores appear to be characteristic of C3-4CSM. In the management of C3-4CSM, ACDF provided better surgical outcomes than did LAMP; hypermobility at the C3-4 level, a radiological characteristic of C3-4CSM, may be one of key factors affecting surgical outcome. The chance to diagnose C3-4CSM is increasing with the increasing healthy life expectancy. To enable effective resolution of symptoms, C3-4CSM must be distinguished from conventional CSM.


Level of Evidence: 4

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