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Management of Symptomatic Cervical Disk Herniation: A Survey Among Dutch Neurosurgeons

de Rooij, Judith D. MSc, PT; Gadjradj, Pravesh S. BSc; Huygen, Frank J. MD, PhD; Luijsterburg, Pim A.J. PhD; Harhangi, Biswadjiet S. MD, PhD

doi: 10.1097/BRS.0000000000001743
Cervical Spine

Study Design. A questionnaire survey.

Objective. To assess the preferred surgical technique, the optimal timing of surgery, and the expectations of different surgical techniques of neurosurgeons in the Netherlands, regarding patients with cervical disc herniation (CDH).

Summary of Background Data. To treat CDH, multiple surgical techniques are performed. Due to the lack of consensus, the daily routine management may vary.

Methods. All 134 neurosurgeons of the Dutch Association of Neurosurgery were sent a survey, evaluating the operative management as well as the attitude towards different surgical treatments for CDH.

Results. Ninety-six (74.4%) of the neurosurgeons treating CDH completed the survey. Anterior cervical discectomy with fusion (ACDF) was the standard procedure for the majority of neurosurgeons (76.3%). ACDF was expected to have the highest effectiveness on arm pain, yet also a higher risk for complications as compared with anterior cervical discectomy (ACD). Approximately, 47.9% of the surgeons regarded a minimal duration of 8 to 12 weeks of radicular arm pain before deciding to perform surgery. Regarding the risk of recurrent CDH, DCF was expected to give the highest risk, whereas ACDF the lowest.

Conclusion. Despite the lack of solid evidence in favor for ACDF this survey showed that ACDF is the preferred technique to treat cervical radiculopathy. A minimum duration of 8 to 12 weeks of radicular arm pain was considered the optimal timing to perform surgery for CDH by the majority of the neurosurgeons. Whether to fuse or not remains a controversial subject in degenerative spinal surgery. This study emphasizes the need of high-quality evidence on the optimal surgical management of CDH.

Level of Evidence: N/A

*Department of Neurosurgery, Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Department of Pain Medicine, Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Department of Physical Therapy, Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam, The Netherlands

§Department of General Practice, Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Biswadjiet S. Harhangi, MD, PhD, Department of Neurosurgery, Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam, s-Gravendijkwal 230 3015 CE Rotterdam, the Netherlands; E-mail: b.s.harhangi@erasmusmc.nl

Received 15 February, 2016

Revised 13 May, 2016

Accepted 30 May, 2016

The manuscript submitted does not contain information about medical device(s)/drug(s).

No funds were received in support of this work.

No relevant financial activities outside the submitted work.

J.D.d-R. and P.S.G. contributed equally to this manuscript.

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