Skip Navigation LinksHome > October 15, 2013 - Volume 38 - Issue 22S > Symptomatic Progression of Cervical Myelopathy and the Role...
Spine:
doi: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e3182a7f4de
Role of Non-Surgical Management in Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy

Symptomatic Progression of Cervical Myelopathy and the Role of Nonsurgical Management: A Consensus Statement

Fehlings, Michael G. MD, PhD, FRCS(C)*; Wilson, Jefferson R. MD*; Yoon, S. Tim MD, PhD; Rhee, John M. MD; Shamji, Mohammed F. MD, PhD*; Lawrence, Brandon D. MD

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Abstract

This section of the cervical spondylotic myelopathy Spine focus issue collates the existing evidence related to natural history and nonoperative management. In the case of patients with symptomatic cervical spondylotic myelopathy treated nonoperatively, while 20% to 62% will deteriorate at 3 to 6 years of follow-up, no specific patient or disease characteristics have been shown to predict this change reliably. For patients without myelopathy with spondylotic cord compression, the rate of myelopathy development is approximately 8% at 1 year and approximately 23% at 4 years of follow-up. Clinical and/or electrophysiological evidence of cervical radiculopathy has been shown to predict such progression and should prompt strong consideration of surgical decompression. With respect to nonoperative care, in the case of mild myelopathy, there is low evidence that such treatment may have a role; for moderate and severe myelopathy, this treatment results in outcomes inferior to those of surgery and is not recommended. Given the unpredictably progressive nature of cervical myelopathy, the indications for nonoperative management are ostensibly limited. Finally, the preclinical rationale and clinical translation of a putative neuroprotective drug, which may one day serve to augment the effects of surgery in the treatment of cervical spondylotic myelopathy, is presented and discussed.

© 2013 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

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