Eddie de Dios, Mats Laesser, Isabella M. Björkman-Burtscher, Lars Lindhagen, Anna MacDowall

September 2022, pp 1 - 10 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-022-07359-9

First Online: 02 September 2022


To investigate improvement rates, adverse events and predictors of clinical outcome after laminectomy alone (LAM) or laminectomy with instrumented fusion (LAM + F) for degenerative cervical myelopathy (DCM).


This is a post hoc analysis of a previously published DCM cohort. Improvement rates for European myelopathy score (EMS) and Neck Disability Index (NDI) at 2- and 5-year follow-ups and adverse events are presented descriptively for available cases. Predictor endpoints were EMS and NDI scores at follow-ups, surgeon- and patient-reported complications, and reoperation-free interval. For predictors, univariate and multivariable models were fitted to imputed data.


Mean age of patients (LAM n = 412; LAM + F n = 305) was 68 years, and 37.4% were women. LAM + F patients had more severe spondylolisthesis and less severe kyphosis at baseline, more surgeon-reported complications, more patient-reported complications, and more reoperations (p ≤ 0.05). After imputation, the overall EMS improvement rate was 43.8% at 2 years and 36.3% at 5 years. At follow-ups, worse EMS scores were independent predictors of worse EMS outcomes and older age and worse NDI scores were independent predictors of worse NDI outcomes. LAM + F was associated with more surgeon-reported complications (ratio 1.81; 95% CI 1.17–2.80; p = 0.008). More operated levels were associated with more patient-reported complications (ratio 1.12; 95% CI 1.02–1.22; p = 0.012) and a shorter reoperation-free interval (hazard ratio 1.30; 95% CI 1.08–1.58; p = 0.046).


These findings suggest that surgical intervention at an earlier myelopathy stage might be beneficial and that less invasive procedures are preferable in this patient population.

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