Degenerative arthritis of the adjacent spinal joints following anterior cervical spinal fusion: Clinico-radiologic and statistical correlations

P. Cherubino, F. Benazzo, F. Borromeo, S. Perle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

On the premise that cervical intersomatic spinal fusion in the treatment of traumatic or spondylolytic myelopathy and post-traumatic instability provokes degenerative arthritis due to functional overloading of the spaces adjacent to the fusion, 37 patients (average age 57, range 25-80) who had undergone spinal fusion by Cloward 's technique were subjected to radiographic study and clinical evaluation. The average follow-up was 11.5 years (range 7-16 years). In comparison with a control group of the same age who had not undergone this operation, these patients' C3-C4 and C6-C7 spaces (adjacent to the most commonly fused vertebrae) were smaller by 16.7% and 15.9%, respectively. In spite of the worsening of the radiographic situation, from a clinical standpoint there was a significant improvement in the symptomatology of 86.5% of the patients. Thus the degenerative arthritis is both less evident and, as far as the long-term clinical outcome is concerned, less influential than could be expected. This finding is confirmed by the lack of statistical correlation between the clinical results and the radiographic evidence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)533-543
Number of pages11
JournalItalian Journal of Orthopaedics and Traumatology
Volume16
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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