Four-level anterior cervical discectomy and fusion with plate fixation: Radiographic and clinical results

Steve W. Chang, Udaya K. Kakarla, Peter H. Maughan, Jeff DeSanto, Douglas Fox, Nicholas Theodore, Curtis A. Dickman, Stephen Papadopoulos, Volker K.H. Sonntag

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion with plating is a common procedure performed for cervical spondylosis by spine surgeons. However, data on procedures involving 4 disc spaces are lacking. We report the outcomes of patients who underwent 4-level anterior cervical discectomy and fusion with plating at a single institution. METHODS: Between 1997 and 2006, 34 patients (19 females, 15 males; mean age, 58 years; age range, 38-83 years) underwent 4-level anterior cervical discectomy and fusion with plating based on a surgical database search. Only patients undergoing surgery at 4 contiguous disc levels were included. Data were collected in a retrospective fashion. Patients' demographics, symptoms, neurologic findings, and radiographic findings at admission were recorded. Long-term clinical and radiographic outcomes at last follow-up were analyzed. RESULTS: Twenty-nine patients (85%) underwent anterior cervical discectomy and fusion with plating at C3-C7. Sixteen patients presented with neurologic deficits, of which 14 (88%) improved. None worsened after surgery. Minor complications occurred in 26 patients, including transient dysphagia in 18 (53%) and hoarseness in 3 (9%). Radiographic outcomes were available in 27 patients (median follow-up, 15 months; range, 4-71 months). The overall fusion rate was 92.6%. Stable fibrous nonunions were present in 2 patients; the chance of nonunion was 1.9% per level and 7% per patient. Adjacent-level disease occurred in 2 patients. CONCLUSION: In carefully selected patients, 4-level anterior cervical discectomy and fusion with plating can be associated with high rates of fusion. The technique is safe and effective for managing multilevel cervical spondylotic myelopathy and may obviate the need for circumferential procedures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)639-646
Number of pages8
JournalNeurosurgery
Volume66
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2010
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion with plating
  • Cervical spondylosis
  • Fusion
  • Multilevel
  • Myelopathy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology

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