Surgery for Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy: A Nationwide Registry-Based Observational Study With Patient-Reported Outcomes
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionNeurosurgery. 2021, 89 (4), 704–711 10.1093/neuros/nyab259
BACKGROUND Indications and optimal timing for surgical treatment of degenerative cervical myelopathy (DCM) remain unclear, and data from daily clinical practice are warranted. OBJECTIVE To investigate clinical outcomes following decompressive surgery for DCM. METHODS Data were obtained from the Norwegian Registry for Spine Surgery. The primary outcome was change in the neck disability index (NDI) 1 yr after surgery. Secondary endpoints were the European myelopathy score (EMS), quality of life (EuroQoL 5D [EQ-5D]), numeric rating scales (NRS) for headache, neck pain, and arm pain, complications, and perceived benefit of surgery assessed by the Global Perceived Effect (GPE) scale. RESULTS We included 905 patients operated between January 2012 and June 2018. There were significant improvements in all patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) including NDI (mean −10.0, 95% CI −11.5 to −8.4, P < .001), EMS (mean 1.0, 95% CI 0.8-1.1, P < .001), EQ-5D index score (mean 0.16, 95% CI 0.13-0.19, P < .001), EQ-5D visual analogue scale (mean 13.8, 95% CI 11.7-15.9, P < .001), headache NRS (mean −1.1, 95% CI −1.4 to −0.8, P < .001), neck pain NRS (mean −1.8, 95% CI −2.0 to −1.5, P < .001), and arm pain NRS (mean −1.7, 95% CI −1.9 to −1.4, P < .001). According to GPE scale assessments, 229/513 patients (44.6%) experienced “complete recovery” or felt “much better” at 1 yr. There were significant improvements in all PROMs for both mild and moderate-to-severe DCM. A total of 251 patients (27.7%) experienced adverse effects within 3 mo. CONCLUSION Surgery for DCM is associated with significant and clinically meaningful improvement across a wide range of PROMs.