Revision surgery for cervical spondylotic myelopathy: Surgical results and outcome

Beril Gok, Daniel M. Sciubba, Gregory S. McLoughlin, Matthew McGirt, Selim Ayhan, Jean Paul Wolinsky, Ali Bydon, Ziya L. Gokaslan, Timothy F. Witham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective: The role of additional or revision surgery in patients with cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) is challenging. Postoperative pseudoarthrosis, instability, hardware failure, and recurrent cervical stenosis are conditions that require detailed clinical and radiographic assessment to define the pathology and assess the need for surgical decompression and fusion. The purpose of this study is to assess the neurological outcome, radiological outcome, and complications of patients undergoing additional or revision surgery for CSM. Methods: Between 2002 and 2006, 30 patients with CSM and postoperative pseudoarthrosis, instability, hardware failure, or recurrent stenosis underwent surgical decompression and stabilization. The specific procedure was selected according to each patients medical condition, cervical sagittal alignment, and extent of stenosis. All patients underwent an anterior, posterior, or combined anterior and posterior decompression and instrumented fusion. The charts of these patients were reviewed to assess neurological and radiographic outcomes. Results: Twenty-five patients (83%) improved postoperatively as measured by the Nurick Myelopathy Scale over a mean follow-up period of 19 months (range, 2-64 mo). The overall complication rate was 27%, consisting of transient monoradiculopathy (7%), dysphagia (10%), and infection (7%). The incidence of nonunion during the follow-up period was 3%. Conclusion: Although patients with CSM and postoperative pseudoarthrosis, instability, hardware failure, or junctional stenosis who require revision surgery may risk a substantial likelihood of surgical complications (25% in this series), a significant proportion of patients may experience improved neurological outcomes. In our experience, the cervical sagittal alignment and the extent of stenosis are critical factors to consider when selecting the eventual procedure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)292-298
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2008



  • Cervical myelopathy
  • Outcome
  • Surgical approach

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology

Cite this