Degenerative cervical myelopathy outcome

Degenerative cervical myelopathy outcome

Preoperative duration of symptoms may significantly impact outcomes in patients treated surgically for degenerative cervical myelopathy (DCM).

Tetreault et al. analyzed whether duration of symptoms is associated with preoperative functional impairment, disability, and quality of life and (ii) determine the optimal timing for decompressive surgery.

Patients with DCM were prospectively enrolled in either the AOSpine North American or International study at 26 global sites (n = 757). Postoperative functional impairment was evaluated at 1-yr using the modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association (mJOA) score. Change scores between baseline and 1-yr were computed for the mJOA. Duration of symptoms was dichotomized into a “short” and “long” group at several cut-offs. Analysis of covariance was used to evaluate differences in change scores on the mJOA between the duration of symptoms groups in 4-mo increments.

The cohort consisted of 424 men and 255 women, with a mean duration of symptoms of 26.1 ± 36.4 mo (0.25-252 mo). Duration of symptoms was not correlated with preoperative mJOA, Nurick, Neck Disability Index, or Short-Form (SF)-36 Physical and Mental Component Scores. Patients with a duration of symptoms shorter than 4 mo had significantly better functional outcomes on the mJOA than patients with a longer duration of symptoms (>4 mo). Thirty-two months was also a significant cut-off.

Patients who are operated on within 4 mo of symptom presentation have better mJOA outcomes than those treated after 4 mo. It is recommended that patients with DCM are diagnosed in a timely fashion and managed appropriately 1).

Zileli et al. conducted a study to review the literature systematically to determine the most reliable outcome measures, important clinical and radiological variables affecting the prognosis in cervical spondylotic myelopathy patients. A literature search was performed for articles published during the last 10 years. As functional outcome measures they recommended to use modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association scaleNurick scale, and Myelopathy Disability Index. Three clinical variables that affect the outcomes are age, duration of symptoms, and severity of the myelopathy. Examination findings require more detailed study to validate their effect on the outcomes. The predictive variables affecting the outcomes are hand atrophy, leg spasticityclonus, and Babinski sign. Among the radiological variables, the curvature of the cervical spine is the most important predictor of prognosis. Patients with instability are expected to have a poor surgical outcome. Spinal cord compression ratio is a critical factor for prognosis. High signal intensity on T2-weighted magnetic resonance images is a negative predictor for prognosis. The most important predictors of outcome are preoperative severity and duration of symptoms. T2 hyperintensity and cord compression ratio can also predict outcomes. New radiological tests may give promising results in the future 2).

Left untreated degenerative cervical myelopathy can lead to spastic tetraparesis 3).

A study investigating quality of life in DCM patients indicated they suffer among the worst SF36 health scores of all chronic diseases 4).

Cervical spondylotic myelopathy surgery outcome



Tetreault L, Wilson JR, Kotter MRN, Côté P, Nouri A, Kopjar B, Arnold PM, Fehlings MG. Is Preoperative Duration of Symptoms a Significant Predictor of Functional Outcomes in Patients Undergoing Surgery for the Treatment of Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy? Neurosurgery. 2019 Nov 1;85(5):642-647. doi: 10.1093/neuros/nyy474. PubMed PMID: 30445506.

Zileli M, Maheshwari S, Kale SS, Garg K, Menon SK, Parthiban J. Outcome Measures and Variables Affecting Prognosis of Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy: WFNS Spine Committee Recommendations. Neurospine. 2019 Sep;16(3):435-447. doi: 10.14245/ns.1938196.098. Epub 2019 Sep 30. PubMed PMID: 31607075.

Chen LF, Tu TH, Chen YC, Wu JC, Chang PY, Liu L, Huang WC, Lo SS, Cheng H. Risk of spinal cord injury in patients with cervical spondylotic myelopathy and ossification of posterior longitudinal ligament: a national cohort study. Neurosurg Focus. 2016 Jun;40(6):E4. doi: 10.3171/2016.3.FOCUS1663. PubMed PMID: 27246487.

Oh T, Lafage R, Lafage V, Protopsaltis T, Challier V, Shaffrey C, Kim HJ, Arnold P, Chapman J, Schwab F, Massicotte E, Yoon T, Bess S, Fehlings M, Smith J, Ames C. Comparing Quality of Life in Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy with Other Chronic Debilitating Diseases Using the Short Form Survey 36-Health Survey. World Neurosurg. 2017 Oct;106:699-706. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2016.12.124. Epub 2017 Jan 5. PubMed PMID: 28065875.

Cervical spondylotic myelopathy surgery outcome

Cervical spondylotic myelopathy surgery outcome

see Machine learning for degenerative cervical myelopathy.

Objective scoring of the post-operative neurological function did not correlate with patient-perceived outcomes in Degenerative cervical myelopathy outcome(DCM). Traditional testing of motor and sensory function as part of the neurological assessment may not be sensitive enough to assess the scope of neurological changes experienced by Degenerative cervical myelopathypatients 1).

Hamdan assessed the relation between MRI T2 Weighted images (T2WIhyperintense cord signal and clinical outcome after anterior cervical discectomy in patients with degenerative cervical disc herniation.

This retrospective observational study was conducted on twenty-five patients with degenerative cervical disc prolapse associated with MRI T2WI hyperintense cord signal, at the Department of Neurosurgery, Qena University Hospital, South Valley University from August 2014 to December 2016. A complete clinical and radiological evaluation of the patients was done. Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion was done for all patients. Patients were clinically assessed preoperatively and postoperatively at 3, 6, and 12 months using Modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association scale (MJOA). Radiographic assessment was done by preoperative and postoperative T2WI MRI. The statistical analysis was done using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) software (version 22.0).

There were 25 patients included in the study; 16 (64%) females and 9 (36%) males. The mean age was 46.89 ± 7.52 standard deviation (SD) years with range from 26 to 64 years, 3 (12%) patients had worsened in the form of postoperative motor power deterioration, and 14 (56%) patients has no improvement and remain as preoperative condition. The remaining 8 (32%) patients had a reported postoperative improvement of symptoms and signs according to MJOA score. The mean follow-up period (in months) was 11 ± 2.34 (SD). Conclusion:

The presence of T2W hyperintense signal on preoperative MRI predicts a poor surgical outcome in patients with cervical disc prolapse. The regression of T2W ISI postoperatively correlates with better functional outcomes 2).

Whilst decompressive surgery can halt disease progression, existing spinal cord damage is often permanent, leaving patients with lifelong disability.

Early surgery improves the likelihood of recovery, yet the average time from onset of symptoms to correct diagnosis is over 2 years. The majority of delays occur initially, before and within primary care, mainly due to a lack of recognition. Symptom checkers are widely used by patients before medical consultation and can be useful for preliminary triage and diagnosis. Lack of recognition of Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy (DCM) by symptom checkers may contribute to the delay in diagnosis.

The impact of the changes in myelopathic signs following cervical decompression surgery and their relationship to functional outcome measures remains unclear.

Surgery is associated with a significant quality of life improvement. The intervention is cost effective and, from the perspective of the hospital payer, should be supported 3).

Surgical decompression for CSM is safe and results in improved functional status and quality of life in patients around the world, irrespective of differences in medical systems and socio-cultural determinants of health 4).

The successful management of CSM depends upon an early and accurate diagnosis, an objective assessment of impairment and disability, and an ability to predict outcome. In this field, quantitative measures are increasingly used by clinicians to grade functional and neurological status and to provide decision-making support 5).

In addition, objective assessment tools allow clinicians to quantify myelopathy severity, predict outcome, and evaluate surgical benefits by tracking improvements throughout follow-up 6) 7) 8).

Several outcome measures assess functional impairment and quality of life in patients with cervical myelopathy 9) 10) 11) 12) 13).

A validated “gold standard,” however, has not been established, preventing the development of quantitative guidelines for CSM management 14).

In this field, one of the most widely accepted tool for assessing functional status is the modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association scale (mJOA).

Some studies have found that resolution of T2 hyperintensity in subjects with CSM who undergo ventral decompressive surgery correlates with improved functional outcomes. Other studies have found little correlation with postoperative outcome 15) 16).



McGregor SM, Detombe S, Goncalves S, Doyle-Pettypiece P, Bartha R, Duggal N. Does the Neurological Exam Correlate with Patient Perceived Outcomes in Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy? World Neurosurg. 2019 Aug 2. pii: S1878-8750(19)32111-4. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2019.07.195. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 31382071.

Hamdan ARK. The Relation between Cord Signal and Clinical Outcome after Anterior Cervical Discectomy in Patients with Degenerative Cervical Disc Herniation. Asian J Neurosurg. 2019 Jan-Mar;14(1):106-110. doi: 10.4103/ajns.AJNS_262_17. PubMed PMID: 30937019; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6417293.

Witiw CD, Tetreault LA, Smieliauskas F, Kopjar B, Massicotte EM, Fehlings MG. Surgery for degenerative cervical myelopathy: a patient centered quality of life and health economic evaluation. Spine J. 2016 Oct 25. pii: S1529-9430(16)31022-1. doi: 10.1016/j.spinee.2016.10.015. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 27793760.

Fehlings MG, Ibrahim A, Tetreault L, Albanese V, Alvarado M, Arnold P, Barbagallo G, Bartels R, Bolger C, Defino H, Kale S, Massicotte E, Moraes O, Scerrati M, Tan G, Tanaka M, Toyone T, Yukawa Y, Zhou Q, Zileli M, Kopjar B. A Global Perspective on the Outcomes of Surgical Decompression in Patients with Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy: Results from the Prospective Multicenter AOSpine International Study on 479 patients. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2015 May 27. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 26020847.
5) , 14)

Singh A, Tetreault L, Casey A, et al. A summary of assessment tools for patients suffering from cervical spondylotic myelopathy: a systematic review on validity, reliability, and responsiveness [published online ahead of print September 5, 2013]. Eur Spine J. doi:10.1007/s00586-013-2935-x.

Laing RJ. Measuring outcome in neurosurgery. Br J Neurosurg 2000;14:181–4.

Holly LT, Matz PG, Anderson PA, et al. Clinical prognostic indicators of surgical outcome in cervical spondylotic myelopathy. J Neurosurg Spine 2009;11:112–8.

Kalsi-Ryan S, Singh A, Massicotte EM, et al. Ancillary outcome measures for assessment of individuals with cervical spondylotic myelopathy. Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2013;38:S111–22.

Singh A, Crockard HA. Quantitative assessment of cervical spondylotic myelopathy by a simple walking test. Lancet 1999;354:370–3.

Nurick S. The natural history and the results of surgical treatment of the spinal cord disorder associated with cervical spondylosis. Brain 1972;95:101–8.

Olindo S, Signate A, Richech A, et al. Quantitative assessment of hand disability by the nine-hole-peg test (9-HPT) in cervical spondylotic myelopathy. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2008;79:965–7.

Hosono N, Sakaura H, Mukai Y, et al. A simple performance test for quantifying the severity of cervical myelopathy [erratum in: J Bone Joint Surg Br 2008;90:1534]. J Bone Joint Surg Br 2008;90:1210–3.

Casey AT, Bland JM, Crockard HA. Development of a functional scoring system for rheumatoid arthritis patients with cervical myelopathy. Ann Rheum Dis 1996;55:901–6.

Sarkar S, Turel MK, Jacob KS, Chacko AG. The evolution of T2-weighted intramedullary signal changes following ventral decompressive surgery for cervical spondylotic myelopathy. J Neurosurg Spine. 2014;21(4):538-546.
Vedantam A, Rajshekhar V. Change in morphology of intramedullary T2- weighted increased signal intensity after anterior decompressive surgery for cervical spondylotic myelopathy. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2014;39(18):1458-1462.

Diffusion tensor imaging for degenerative cervical myelopathy

Diffusion tensor imaging for degenerative cervical myelopathy

Despite its invasiveness, computed tomography myelography (CTM) is still considered an important supplement to conventional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for preoperative evaluation of multilevel degenerative cervical myelopathy. Schöller et al., analyzed if diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) could be a less invasive alternative for this purpose.

In 20 patients with degenerative cervical myelopathy and an indication for decompression of at least one level, CTM was performed preoperatively to determine the extent of spinal canal/cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) space and cord compression (Naganawa score) for a decision on the number of levels to be decompressed. Fractional anisotropy (FA) and apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) were correlated with these parameters and with MRI-based increased signal intensity (ISI). Receiver operating characteristic analysis was performed to determine the sensitivity to discriminate levels requiring decompression surgery. European Myelopathy Score(EMS) and neck/radicular visual analog scale (VAS-N/R) were used for clinical evaluation.

According to preoperative CTM, 20 levels of maximum and 16 levels of relevant additional stenosis were defined and decompressed. Preoperative FA and particularly ADC showed a significant correlation with the CTM Naganawa score but also with the ISI grade. Furthermore, both FA and ADC facilitated a good discrimination between stenotic and nonstenotic levels with cutoff values < 0.49 for FA and > 1.15 × 10-9 m2/s for ADC. FA and especially ADC revealed a considerably higher sensitivity (79% and 82%, respectively) in discriminating levels requiring decompression surgery compared with ISI (55%). EMS and VAS-N/R were significantly improved at 14 months compared with preoperative values.

DTI parameters are highly sensitive at distinguishing surgical from nonsurgical levels in CSM patients and might therefore represent a less invasive alternative to CTM for surgical planning 1).

A study population included 50 patients with symptoms of cervical myelopathy. The patients were evaluated based on symptoms using the European myelopathy scoring system and were divided into: Grade 1, including patients with mild symptoms; Grade 2, referring to patients with moderate symptoms and Grade 3, which included patients revealing severe symptoms. All the patients were investigated with a 1.5 T MRI unit acquiring DWI and DTI sequences. FA and ADC values from each spinal segment were analyzed in terms of Frequency, Percentage, Mean, Standard Deviation and Confidence Intervals. The comparison of values was done by ANOVA and post hoc analysis by bonferroni test. Comparison of accuracy of FA, ADC and T2WI in recognizing myelopathic changes was done by t-test. Receiver Operating Characteristics (ROC) analysis was performed to obtain a cut off value of FA and ADC for each spinal level to identify myelopathic change in the spinal cord.

The study revealed a significant difference in the mean FA and ADC value of stenotic and Non-stenotic segments. T2WI was highly significant (p = 0.000) in recognizing myelopathy changes in patients falling under Grade 2(moderate) and Grade 3(severe) according to European Myelopathy scoring system. Regarding patients under Grade 1 (mild) FA and ADC values showed significant difference compared to T2WI. The collective sensitivity in the identification of myelopathic changes was highest with FA (79%) as compared to ADC (71%) and T2WI (50%). ROC analysis was done to determine the cut off values of FA and ADC at each cervical spine segments. The proposed cut off, for FA and ADC at the level of C1-C2 is 0.68 and 0.92, C2-C3 is 0.65 and 1.03, C3-C4 is 0.63 and 1.01, C4-C5 0.61 and 0.98, At C5-C6 0.57 and 1.04, At C6-C7 0.56 and 0.96 respectively.

FA and ADC values enhance the efficacy and accuracy of MRI in the diagnosis of cervical spondylotic myelopathy. Hence diffusion tensor imaging can be used as a non-invasive modality to recognize spondylotic myelopathy changes even in the early stages, which can be helpful in deciding on appropriate timing of decompression surgery before the irreversible chronic changes set in 2).

A meta-analysis was conducted to assess alterations in measures of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) in the patients of cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM), exploring the potential role of DTI as a diagnosis biomarker. A systematic search of all related studies written in English was conducted using PubMed, Web of Science, EMBASE, CINAHL, and Cochrane comparing CSM patients with healthy controls. Key details for each study regarding participants, imaging techniques, and results were extracted. DTI measurements, such as fractional anisotropy (FA), apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC), and mean diffusivity (MD) were pooled to calculate the effect size (ES) by fixed or random effects meta-analysis. 14 studies involving 479 CSM patients and 278 controls were identified. Meta-analysis of the most compressed levels (MCL) of CSM patients demonstrated that FA was significantly reduced (ES -1.52, 95% CI -1.87 to -1.16, P < 0.001) and ADC was significantly increased (ES 1.09, 95% CI 0.89 to 1.28, P < 0.001). In addition, a notable ES was found for lowered FA at C2-C3 for CSM vs. controls (ES -0.83, 95% CI -1.09 to -0.570, P < 0.001). Meta-regression analysis revealed that male ratio of CSM patients had a significant effect on reduction of FA at MCL (P = 0.03). The meta-analysis of DTI studies of CSM patients clearly demonstrated a significant FA reduction and ADC increase compared with healthy subjects. This result supports the use of DTI parameters in differentiating CSM patients from health subjects. Future researches are required to investigate the diagnosis performance of DTI in cervical spondylotic myelopathy 3).

The measurement of DTI indexes within the spinal cord provides a quantitative assessment of neural damage in various spinal cord pathologies. DTI studies in animal models of spinal cord injury indicate that DTI is a reliable imaging technique with important histological and functional correlates.

DTI is a noninvasive marker of microstructural change within the spinal cord. In human studies, spinal cord DTI shows definite changes in subjects with acute and chronic spinal cord injury, as well as cervical spondylotic myelopathy. Interestingly, changes in DTI indexes are visualized in regions of the cord, which appear normal on conventional magnetic resonance imaging and are remote from the site of cord compression. Spinal cord DTI provides data that can help us understand underlying microstructural changes within the cord and assist in prognostication and planning of therapies 4).



Schöller K, Siller S, Brem C, Lutz J, Zausinger S. Diffusion Tensor Imaging for Surgical Planning in Patients with Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy. J Neurol Surg A Cent Eur Neurosurg. 2019 Jun 10. doi: 10.1055/s-0039-1691822. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 31181580.

Nukala M, Abraham J, Khandige G, Shetty BK, Rao APA. Efficacy of diffusion tensor imaging in identification of degenerative cervical spondylotic myelopathy. Eur J Radiol Open. 2018 Dec 12;6:16-23. doi: 10.1016/j.ejro.2018.08.006. eCollection 2019. PubMed PMID: 30581892; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6293016.

Guan X, Fan G, Wu X, Gu G, Gu X, Zhang H, He S. Diffusion tensor imaging studies of cervical spondylotic myelopathy: a systemic review and meta-analysis. PLoS One. 2015 Feb 11;10(2):e0117707. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0117707. eCollection 2015. Review. PubMed PMID: 25671624; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4363894.

Vedantam A, Jirjis MB, Schmit BD, Wang MC, Ulmer JL, Kurpad SN. Diffusion tensor imaging of the spinal cord: insights from animal and human studies. Neurosurgery. 2014 Jan;74(1):1-8. doi: 10.1227/NEU.0000000000000171. PubMed PMID: 24064483.
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