The Impact of Preoperative Symptom Duration on Patient Outcomes After Posterior Cervical Decompression and Fusion.

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STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective Cohort Study.

OBJECTIVES: To determine if decreased preoperative symptom duration is associated with greater clinical improvement in function and myelopathic symptoms after posterior cervical decompression and fusion (PCDF).

METHODS: All patients over age 18 who underwent primary PCDF for cervical myelopathy or myeloradiculopathy at a single institution between 2014 and 2020 were retrospectively identified. Patient demographics, surgical characteristics, duration of symptoms, and preoperative and postoperative patient reported outcomes measures (PROMs) including modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association (mJOA), Neck Disability Index (NDI), Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) Neck, VAS Arm, and SF-12 were collected. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to compare change in PROMs and minimum clinically important difference achievement (%MCID) between symptom duration groups (< 6 months, 6 months-2 years, > 2 years).

RESULTS: Preoperative symptom duration groups differed significantly by sex and smoking status. Patients with < 6 months of preoperative symptoms improved significantly in all PROMs. Patients with 6 months-2 years of preoperative symptoms did not improve significantly in mJOA, Physical Component Scores (PCS), or NDI. Patients with > 2 years of symptoms failed to demonstrate significant improvement in mJOA, NDI, or Mental Component Scores (MCS). Univariate analysis demonstrated significantly decreased improvement in mJOA with longer symptom durations. Increased preoperative symptom duration trended toward decreased %MCID for mJOA and MCS. Regression analysis demonstrated that preoperative symptom duration of > 2 years relative to < 6 months predicted decreased improvement in mJOA and NDI and decreased MCID achievement for mJOA and MCS.

CONCLUSION: Increased duration of preoperative symptoms (> 2 years) before undergoing PCDF was associated with decreased postoperative improvement in myelopathic symptoms.

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Medicine and Health Sciences




Department of Surgery, Department of Surgery Residents, Fellows and Residents

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