Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy in Higher-Aged Patients: How Do They Benefit from Surgery?
<p>Background: Degenerative cervical myelopathy (DCM) is the most common reason for spinal cord disease in elderly patients. This study analyzes the preoperative status and postoperative outcome of higher-aged patients in comparison to young and elderly patients in order to determine the benefit to those patients from DCM surgery. <p>Methods: A retrospective analysis of the clinical data, radiological findings, and operative reports of 411 patients treated surgically between 2007 and 2016 suffering from DCM was performed. The preoperative and postoperative neurological functions were evaluated using the modified Japanese Orthopedic Association Score (mJOA Score), the postoperative mJOA Score improvement, the neurological recovery rate (NRR) of the mJOA Score, and the minimum clinically important difference (MCID). The Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI) was used to evaluate the impact of comorbidities on the preoperative and postoperative mJOA Score. The comparisons were performed between the following age groups: G1: ≤50 years, G2: 51-70 years, and G3: >70 years. <p>Results: The preoperative and postoperative mJOA Score was significantly lower in G3 than in G2 and G1 (p < 0.0001). However, the mean mJOA Score's improvement did not differ significantly (p = 0.81) between those groups six months after surgery (G1: 1.99 ± 1.04, G2: 2.01 ± 1.04, G: 2.00 ± 0.91). Furthermore, the MCID showed a significant improvement in every age-group. The CCI was evaluated for each age-group, showing a statistically significant group effect (p < 0.0001). Analysis of variance revealed a significant group effect on the delay (weeks) between symptom onset and surgery (p = 0.003). The duration of the stay at the hospital did differ significantly between the age groups (p < 0.0001). <p>Conclusion: Preoperative and postoperative mJOA Scores, but not the extent of postoperative improvement, are affected by the patients' age. Therefore, patients should be considered for DCM surgery regardless of their age.