The purpose of this study was to investigate the clinical predictors of surgical outcome in patients with cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM). We reviewed a consecutive series of 248 patients (71 women and 177 men) with CSM who had undergone surgery at our institution between January 2000 and October 2010. Their mean age was 59.0 years (16 to 86). Medical records, office notes, and operative reports were reviewed for data collection. Special attention was focused on pre-operative duration and severity as well as postoperative persistence of myelopathic symptoms. Disease severity was graded according to the Nurick classification.
Our multivariate logistic regression model indicated that Nurick grade 2 CSM patients have the highest chance of complete symptom resolution (p < 0.001) and improvement to normal gait (p = 0.004) following surgery. Patients who did not improve after surgery had longer duration of myelopathic symptoms than those who did improve post-operatively (17.85 months (1 to 101) vs 11.21 months (1 to 69); p = 0.002). More advanced Nurick grades were not associated with a longer duration of symptoms (p = 0.906).
Our data suggest that patients with Nurick grade 2 CSM are most likely to improve from surgery. The duration of myelopathic symptoms does not have an association with disease severity but is an independent prognostic indicator of surgical outcome.