Author(s): Lowry DW, Tuinstra SM, Liang K, Sclafani JA
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Although anterior cervical decompression and fusion (ACDF) can be performed using minimally invasive techniques, the extensive removal of anatomical keystones during decompression requires a segmental fusion to restore biomechanical stability. Treatment with arthrodesis techniques may result in a prolonged recovery time, loss of motion, and the need for further treatment if a pseudarthosis or adjacent segment disease occur. Transcorporeal micro decompression (TCMD) is a newly developed motion sparing, minimally invasive anterior cervical spine decompression procedure that utilizes a small channel through the cervical vertebral body to decompress areas of central or foraminal stenosis while preserving the native disc. Cervical decompression with TCMD can be performed as a stand-alone or hybrid procedure with ACDF at the adjacent levels. This study retrospectively assesses patient based clinical outcome measures in patients treated with TCMD. METHODS: A retrospective, non-randomized, single-center chart review of single surgeon experience with patients undergoing TCMD both with and without adjacent level ACDF using both a trajectory control guide and access channel repair. Statistical analyses were performed on pre and post-operative data collected using visual analog scale (VAS) and neck disability index (NDI) outcome measures. RESULTS: Among 62 patients, there were no cases of neurovascular injury, CSF leak, transfusion, or migration of repair implement. Revision surgery was required in 6.4\% (n=4) patients. A subanalysis of outcome metrics was performed for patients that underwent standalone TCMD (TCMD group, n=42) and TCMD with concurrent ACDF at one or more levels (TCMD+ACDF group, n=20). TCMD group NDI improved from 20.0 to 2.7 at 1 year (p=0.0001); Axial VAS improved from 5.5 to 0.6 (p=0.0001); and Radiating VAS improved from 7.0 to 0.7 (p=0.0001). TCMD+ACDF group NDI improved from 22.0 to 4.0 at 1 year (p=0.004); Axial VAS improved from 7.1 to 1.2 (p=0.01); and Radiating VAS trended towards significant improvement from 6.4 to 2.3 (p=0.09). Mean return to work was 10 days in the TCMD group and 57 days in the TCMD+ACDF group. CONCLUSIONS: Within the limits of a retrospective, single-surgeon study, patients did experience both functional improvement and pain relief as measured by NDI and VAS respectively from standalone TCMD or combined ACDF / TCMD procedures. Definitive statements on long-term efficacy, disc space preservation, and motion preservation await further study.
This article was published in Int J Spine Surg
and referenced in Journal of Spine