Article Abstract

Outcomes and revision rates following multilevel anterior cervical discectomy and fusion

Authors: Joseph L. Laratta, Hemant P. Reddy, Kelly R. Bratcher, Katlyn E. McGraw, Leah Y. Carreon, R. Kirk Owens II


Background: Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) for cervical degenerative disease is an accepted treatment for symptomatic cervical radiculopathy and myelopathy. One- and two-level fusions are much more common and more widely studied. Outcomes and revision rates for three- and four-level ACDF have not been well described. The purpose of this study is to report on clinical outcomes and revision rates following multilevel ACDF.
Methods: Patients who underwent three- or four-level anterior cervical discectomy with plate fixation between 2006 and 2011 from a single-center multi-surgeon practice for symptomatic cervical degenerative disease were identified. Improvements in neck disability index (NDI), neck and arm pain scores two years after surgery and revision rates were analyzed.
Results: Forty-six patients with a mean age of 55.9 years were included in the analysis. Twenty-one (46%) were male, 10 (22%) were smokers. Forty-one (89%) underwent three-level fusion and 5 (11%) underwent four-level fusion. NDI improved from 34.46 at baseline to 25.47 at two years. Neck pain improved from 7.04 at baseline to 3.95 and arm pain improved from 6.24 to 3.09 at two year follow up. Sixteen patients (35%) returned to surgery within two years with 11 of these patients (24%) returning for non-union. The average number of days to revision surgery was 750.6±570.3 days.
Conclusions: Patients undergoing three- and four-level ACDF for multilevel cervical disease demonstrate substantial improvement in outcomes. However, the two-year revision rate is relatively high at 35% with the majority of these patients returning due to non-union.