Repository logo

The Relative Merits of Posterior Surgical Treatments for Multi-Level Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy Remain Uncertain: Findings from a Systematic Review

Published version

Change log


Gharooni, Aref-Ali 
Dhillon, Rana S. 
Dyson, Edward W. 


Objectives: To assess the reporting of study design and characteristics in multi-level degenerative cervical myelopathy (DCM) treated by posterior surgical approaches, and perform a comparison of clinical and radiographic outcomes between different approaches. Methods: A literature search was performed in Embase and MEDLINE between 1995–2019 using a sensitive search string combination. Studies were selected by predefined selection criteria: Full text articles in English, with >10 patients (prospective) or >50 patients (retrospective), reporting outcomes of multi-level DCM treated by posterior surgical approach. Results: A total of 75 studies involving 19,510 patients, conducted worldwide, were identified. Laminoplasty was described in 56 studies (75%), followed by laminectomy with (36%) and without fusion (16%). The majority of studies were conducted in Asia (84%), in the period of 2016–2019 (51%), of which laminoplasty was studied predominantly. Twelve (16%) prospective studies and 63 (84%) retrospective studies were identified. The vast majority of studies were conducted in a single centre (95%) with clear inclusion/exclusion criteria and explicit cause of DCM. Eleven studies (15%) included patients with ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament exclusively with cohorts of 57 to 252. The clinical and radiographic outcomes were reported with heterogeneity when comparing laminoplasty, laminectomy with and without fusion. Conclusions: Heterogeneity in the reporting of study and sample characteristics exists, as well as in clinical and radiographic outcomes, with a paucity of studies with a higher level of evidence. Future studies are needed to elucidate the clinical effectiveness of posterior surgical treatments.



cervical spine, multi-level, myelopathy, laminoplasty, laminectomy, fusion, degenerative cervical myelopathy

Journal Title

Journal of Clinical Medicine

Conference Name

Journal ISSN


Volume Title