Ingo Fiss, Dorothee Mielke, Veit Rohde, Marios Psychogios, Christoph Schilling

June 2021, Volume 30, Issue 6, pp 1529 - 1535 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-021-06773-9

First Online: 10 March 2021


Unilateral hemilaminectomy with bilateral decompression (BDZ) was proposed as an alternative decompressive procedure in cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM). Despite promising clinical results, the destabilizing effect is yet unknown. We therefore performed a biomechanical study to investigate whether lateral mass screw fixation should follow BDZ.


Six human C2–C7 cervical specimens were tested under various conditions: native, unilateral hemilaminectomy with bilateral decompression without/with fixation (BDZ/BDF), unilateral hemilaminectomy with bilateral decompression and unilateral foraminotomy without/with fixation (UFZ/UFF), unilateral hemilaminectomy with bilateral decompression and bilateral foraminotomy without/with fixation (BFZ/BFF), and laminectomy without/with fixation (LAZ/LAF). Instrumention was applied from C3–C6. For each condition, the three-dimensional kinematics of the cervical specimen were measured in three main loading directions with an ultrasonic motion analysis system. ANOVA was used to determine differences between the specific segment conditions to assess the parameter’s range of motion (ROM) and neutral zone (NZ).


For flexion–extension, lateral bending and axial rotation, ROM of BDZ, UFZ, BFZ and LAZ remained at the level of the native condition (p > 0.74), whereas fixation reduced ROM significantly (p < 0.01). Between BDF, UFF, BFF and LAF, no significant differences in reduction in ROM were seen (p > 0.49). Results for NZ were equivalent to ROM in flexion–extension and lateral bending. For axial rotation, NZ remained almost constant on the native level for all tested conditions.


Bilateral decompression via a hemilaminectomy, even if combined with foraminotomy, could be a less invasive treatment option for multilevel CSM in patients with lordotic cervical alignment and absence of segmental instability.

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