Article ID: 2019-0027
Introduction. This retrospective study compared rates of bony fusion and screw loosening after multilevel posterior decompression and fusion (PDF) with short monocortical screws (SMS) as a novel mid-cervical anchor versus C5 pedicle screws (PS) as a mid-cervical anchor.
Methods. We analyzed 15 consecutive patients who underwent C2–T1 PDF with C5 PS as mid-cervical anchor (PS group) and 18 consecutive patients who underwent the procedure with SMS at C4–C6 as mid-cervical anchor (SMS group). Radiological outcomes, including rates of bony fusion at each level and screw loosening, and clinical outcomes, including Japanese Orthopedic Association (JOA) score, neck pain, neck disability index (NDI), and EuroQol 5 Dimension (EQ-5D), were compared between groups. In the SMS group, screw perforation types and appropriate screw insertion procedure were also investigated.
Results. The fusion rate at C2/3 in the SMS group (56%) was significantly higher than that in PS group (13%; P = 0.0272). None of the patients had SMS loosening postoperatively. Clinical outcomes, including JOA score, neck pain, NDI, and EQ-5D, did not differ between the groups. In the SMS group, facet perforation was the most common type of perforation. The recommended direction for SMS insertion at C4–C6 was 35°–37° in the cranial direction and 25°–30° in the medial direction; the recommended screw length was 10 mm.
Conclusions. SMS at C4–C6 was as effective as C5 PS as a mid-cervical anchor in PDF, according to clinical and radiological outcomes. The fusion rate at C2/3 in the SMS group was significantly higher than that in the PS group. There was no postoperative loosening of the C5 PS or C4–C6 SMS in either group.