Background: Surgical approaches for multi-level cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) include posterior cervical surgery via laminectomy and fusion (LF) or expansive laminoplasty (EL). The relative benefits and risks of either approach in terms of clinical outcomes and complications are not well established. A systematic review and meta-analysis was conducted to address this topic. Methods: Electronic searches were performed using six databases from their inception to January 2016, identifying all relevant randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and non-RCTs comparing LF vs EL for multi-level cervical myelopathy. Data was extracted and analyzed according to predefined endpoints. Results: From 10 included studies, there were 335 patients who underwent LF compared to 320 patients who underwent EL. There was no significant difference found postoperatively between LF and EL groups in terms of postoperative JOA (P = 0.39), VAS neck pain (P = 0.93), postoperative CCI (P = 0.32) and Nurich grade (P = 0.42). The total complication rate was higher for LF compared to EL (26.4 vs 15.4 %, RR 1.77, 95 % CI 1.10, 2.85, I2 = 34 %, P = 0.02). Reoperation rate was found to be similar between LF and EL groups (P = 0.52). A significantly higher pooled rate of nerve palsies was found in the LF group compared to EL (9.9 vs 3.7 %, RR 2.76, P = 0.03). No significant difference was found in terms of operative time and intraoperative blood loss. Conclusions: From the available low-quality evidence, LF and EL approaches for CSM demonstrates similar clinical improvement and loss of lordosis. However, a higher complication rate was found in LF group, including significantly higher nerve palsy complications. This requires further validation and investigation in larger sample-size prospective and randomized studies.
- cervical myelopathy