Poorer Fusion Outcomes in Diabetic Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy Patients Undergoing Single-level Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion Does Not Compromise Functional Outcomes and Quality of Life

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Study Design.

Retrospective matched pair cohort study using prospectively collected registry data.


The aim of this study was to determine whether patients with DM have poorer patient-reported outcomes and poorer fusion rates after undergoing a single-level anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) for cervical myelopathy.

Summary of Background Data.

ACDF remains the most common procedure in the treatment of cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM); however, there is a paucity of literature with regards to patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs), health-related quality-of-life (HRQOL) scores, and fusion rates post-ACDF in diabetic patients with CSM.


From 2002 to 2012, 29 diabetic patients were matched with 29 nondiabetic controls. Patient demographics, perioperative data, and validated spine-specific scores including the Numerical Pain Rating Scale on Neck Pain and Upper Limb Pain, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) neck pain and disability scores, AAOS Neurogenic Symptoms Score, Neck Disability Index, Japanese Orthopaedic Association Cervical Myelopathy Score, and Short Form 36 Physical/Mental Component Summaries were recorded. Fusion rates based on Bridwell grading were assessed at 2 years.


After matching, there were no significant preoperative differences in patient demographics, clinical outcomes, PROMs or HRQoL measures between the DM and control group (P > 0.05). There was no difference in either length of hospital stay (P = 0.92) or length of surgery (P = 0.92) between the two groups. At 2 years postoperatively, there were no significant differences between validated spine-specific scores, PROMs, HRQoL scores, satisfaction rates, or fulfilment of expectations between the two groups. Significant poorer Bridwell fusion grades were noted in the DM group at 2 years postoperatively (P < 0.05). Subgroup analysis within the DM group demonstrated that glycated hemoglobin levels had no impact on functional outcomes, fulfilment of expectations, or patient satisfaction at 2 years (P > 0.05).


Despite poorer fusion outcomes following single-level ACDF for symptomatic CSM, there was no significant difference in validated spine outcome scores, PROMs, HRQoL measures, or satisfaction levels when compared to nondiabetic controls at short-term follow-up.


Level of Evidence: 3

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