Min Zhou, Xin Xu, Hairen Chen, Baiwen Qi

October 2023, Volume 32, Issue 10, pp 3485 - 3496 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-023-07790-6

First Online: 01 July 2023


This meta-analysis aims to evaluate the therapeutic efficacy of anterior versus posterior surgical approaches for multisegment cervical spondylotic myelopathy (MCSM).


Eligible studies published between the period of January 2001 and April 2022 and comparing the anterior and posterior surgical approaches for treating cervical spondylotic myelopathy were retrieved from the PubMed, Web of Science, Embase, and Cochrane databases.


A total of 17 articles were selected based on the inclusion and exclusion criteria. This meta-analysis failed to show any significant difference in the duration of surgery, the hospitalization time, or the improvement in the Japanese Orthopedic Association score between the anterior and posterior approaches. The anterior approach, however, exhibited increased efficacy in the improvement of the neck disability index, reduction in the visual analog scale for cervical pain, and improvement in the cervical curvature compared with the posterior approach.


Bleeding was also less with the anterior surgical approach. The posterior approach provided a significantly higher range of motion of the cervical spine and showed fewer postoperative complications compared with the anterior approach. While both the surgical approaches have good clinical outcomes and show postoperative neurological function improvement, the meta-analysis shows that both anterior and posterior approaches have certain merits and shortcomings. A meta-analysis of a larger number of randomized controlled trials with longer follow-up can conclusively determine which of the surgical approaches is more beneficial in the treatment of MCSM.

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