Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate neck-related physical function in individuals 11 to 14 years after anterior cervical decompression and fusion (ACDF) surgery for degenerative cervical disk disease and to compare the long-term outcome of 2 surgical techniques, including the Cloward procedure and cervical intervertebral fusion cage.
Methods: In this cross-sectional study, 51 individuals, 11 years or more after ACDF, underwent testing of cervical active range of motion, hand-grip strength, static and dynamic balance, neck muscle endurance, and completed pain ratings. The participants' values were compared with values of age- and sex-matched healthy individuals to evaluate impairments. Correlations between different test scores and pain were performed. Group differences were analyzed between the 2 surgical techniques.
Results: Sixty-five percent and 82% exhibited impairment in ventral and dorsal neck muscle endurance, respectively. Impairment rates of 18% to 39% for cervical active range of motion, 27% to 43% for hand-grip strength, 37% for standing balance, and 35% for dynamic balance were recorded. Twenty-nine percent of the participants had impairment (>30 mm visual analog scale) in pain. There were no significant differences in physical function between the 2 surgical treatment groups (Cloward procedure or cervical intervertebral fusion cage) (P = .10-.92).
Conclusions: In those studied, a large percentage of patients who had anterior cervical decompression and fusion surgery have impairments in neck-related physical function when compared 11 to 14 years after surgery with age- and sex-matched healthy reference individuals. Neck-specific function, but not balance, was statistically correlated to pain. Neck muscle endurance was most affected, and balance impairments were also present in one-third of the individuals. There were no differences in long-term physical function between the 2 surgical techniques.
This abstract is reproduced with the permission of the publisher; full text is available by subscription. Click on the above link and select a publisher from PubMed’s LinkOut feature.