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Myelopathy and Spinal Deformity: The Relevance of Spinal Alignment in Planning Surgical Intervention for Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy.

Toronto Western Hospital - Division of Neurosurgery, 399 Bathurst Street, West Wing, 4th Floor, Room WW4-446, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5T 2S8 UCSF Medical Center - Neurosurgery Clinic, 400 Parnassus Avenue, Eighth Floor, San Francisco, CA 94143 University of Virginia - Department of Neurological Surgery, PO Box 800212, Charlottesville, VA 22908 Emory Spine Center, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, 59 Executive Park South #3000, Atlanta, GA 30329 UW Bone and Joint Center, 4245 Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle, WA 98195 Toronto Western Hospital - Division of Neurosurgery, 399 Bathurst Street, West Wing, 4th Floor, Room WW4-449, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5T 2S8.
Spine (Impact Factor: 2.45). 08/2013; 38(22). DOI: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e3182a7f521
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT : Surgical management of degenerative cervical myelopathy requires careful pathoanatomic consideration to select between various surgical options from both anterior and posterior approach. Hitherto unexplored is the relevance of cervical deformity to the pathophysiology of such neurological disability, and whether correction of that deformity should be a surgical objective when planning for reconstruction after spinal cord decompression. Such correction could address both the static cord compression and the dynamic repetitive cord injury, while also restoring more normal biomechanics to the cervical spine. The articles in this special issue's section on cervical spinal deformity reveal that cervical sagittal alignment is geometrically related to thoracolumbar spinal pelvic alignment and to T1 slope and that it is further clinically correlated to regional disability and general health scores and to myelopathy severity. These conclusions are based on narrative reviews and a selection of primary research data, reflecting the nascency of this field. They further recommend for preoperative assessment of spinal alignment when significant deformity is suspected, and that correction of cervical kyphosis should be an objective when surgery is planned.

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    ABSTRACT: In this narrative review, we aim to outline what is currently known about the pathophysiology of cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM), the most common cause of spinal cord dysfunction. In particular, we note the unique factors that distinguish it from acute spinal cord injury. Despite its common occurrence, the reasons why some patients develop severe symptomatology while others have few or no symptoms despite radiographic evidence confirming similar degrees of compression is poorly understood. Neither is there a clear understanding of why certain patients have a stable clinical myelopathy and others present with only mild myelopathy. Moreover, the precise molecular mechanisms which contribute to the pathogenesis of the disease are incompletely understood. The current treatment method is decompression of the spinal cord but a lack of clinically relevant models of CSM have hindered the understanding of the full pathophysiology which would aid the development of new therapeutic avenues of investigation. Further elucidation of the role of ischemia, currently a source of debate, as well as the complex cascade of biomolecular events as a result of the unique pathophysiology in this disease will pave the way for further neuroprotective strategies to be developed to attenuate the physiological consequences of surgical decompression and augment its benefits.
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