Effect of local retropharyngeal steroids on fusion rate after anterior cervical discectomy and fusion

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Spine J


© 2019 Elsevier Inc. BACKGROUND CONTEXT: Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) is considered the gold standard surgical intervention for cervical myelopathy and radiculopathy. Obtaining a solid fusion is an important goal of ACDF, and doing so has correlated with favorable clinical outcomes. A common complication after surgery is postoperative dysphagia. Multiple techniques have been utilized in attempt to prevent and treat dysphagia, including use of retropharygeal steroids. PURPOSE: To examine the effects of retropharyngeal steroids on fusion rate in ACDF. STUDY DESIGN: Case control METHODS: Forty-two patients who received local retropharyngeal steroids during ACDF surgery were the sample patient population. The control group consisted of matched cases based on number of spinal levels treated and age at approximately 1:2 case to control ratio. Data were collected on demographic variables, as well as operative and postoperative courses. Radiographic data were collected and fusion determined by /extension views and bridging bone. Data were compared between case and control populations. Continuous variables were compared using Student's t test and nominal/ordinal values were compared using Z-test. Fusion status was assessed using Pearson chi-squared test. RESULTS: A total of 121 patients were reviewed based on matching status and sufficient follow-up. The case and control groups were successfully matched based on age, spinal levels treated, and smoking status. The case group had an overall fusion rate of 64.7%, whereas the control group had a fusion rate of 91%. When analyzed at each level of attempted fusion, the case group had a fusion rate of 81% compared to 93% in the control group. There was a single patient in the case group that developed esophageal rupture and retropharygeal abscess requiring surgical intervention with irrigation, debridement and repair at 8 months after index operation. CONCLUSIONS: The use of retropharyngeal steroids to mitigate postoperative dysphagia is associated with a decreased rate of radiographic fusion in ACDF surgery.





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