Study Design: This was a retrospective cohort study. Objective: The objective of this study was to investigate whether cervical laminectomy with instrumented fusion (LF) and cervical laminoplasty with reconstruction (LP) are associated with different rates C5 palsy (C5P) at 1-month follow-up in a single surgeon and nationally representative cohort. Summary of Background Data: LF and LP both carry a well-known risk of nerve root injury that most commonly presents as C5P which can reduce patient satisfaction, patient function, and impede patient recovery. The procedure type that is more frequently associated with C5P remains largely unclear. Methods: We identified patients undergoing primary LF or LP procedures for the treatment of cervical myelopathy in both a single-surgeon series cohort (2004-2018; Mount Sinai Hospital) and a nationally representative cohort drawn from the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) database (2006-2017). For the single-surgeon cohort, C5P within 1 month of surgery was recorded. For the NSQIP cohort, peripheral nerve injury (PNI) within 1 month of surgery was recorded and used as a proxy for C5P. Postoperative complications including C5P were compared between cohorts. Multivariable logistic regression was used to evaluate the association between procedure type and postoperative C5P or PNI. Results: Without adjusting for covariates, LF patients had a higher rate of 1-month C5P in the single-surgeon cohort (8% vs. 0%, P=0.01). An adjusted odds ratio could not be obtained due to the absence of C5P in the LP group. In the national cohort, LP patients had a significantly higher rate of 1-month PNI on unadjusted analysis (11% vs. 16%, P<0.001). After adjusting for covariates, we found no significant difference in odds of 1-month PNI between LF and LP (adjusted odds ratio=0.84, P=0.07). Conclusions: Overall, the single-surgeon series suggest that cervical LF is associated with significantly higher rates of postoperative C5P as compared with LP. These findings are not corroborated by nationally representative data, which showed no difference in PNI rates between LF and LP. A surgeon's training and experience likely contribute to which procedure has a higher propensity for a C5P as a complication. Regardless, both LF and LP patients should be closely monitored for new-onset C5P during follow-up visits. Level of Evidence: Level III.
- C5 nerve palsy
- cervical spine