Retrospective chart review.
To determine risk factors for postoperative otolaryngologic complications among patients who undergo primary and revision anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF).
Summary of Background Data.
Swallowing and voice dysfunction are frequent postoperative complaints after ACDF surgery with a published incidence varying between 1.2% and 60%. A thorough understanding of the incidence and risk factors for these complications is needed.
Electronic medical records of adults who underwent ACDF with predicted difficult surgical site exposure performed by two-surgeon approach between 2008 and 2018 were reviewed. Patients were categorized by primary or revision ACDF status and by the number of levels addressed during the operation. Associations with postoperative otolaryngologic symptoms were assessed using simple and multivariable logistic regression.
Participants included 718 adults with an average age of 55.8 years and 45% female sex. One hundred seventy-five patients (27%) underwent revision ACDF; ACDF status was unidentifiable for 74 patients. Seventy-nine cases (12%) involved one spinal level. New postoperative otolaryngologic symptoms among those who underwent primary and revision ACDF were 12.6% and 10.9% respectively. No evidence was found of an association between postoperative otolaryngologic symptoms and revision ACDF (OR, 0.84 [95% CI, 0.48–1.49]; P
= 0.55), but evidence was found of an association with prior thyroidectomy (aOR, 3.8 [95% CI, 1.53–8.94], P
= 0.0003). Significant evidence was found of increased odds for new postoperative dysphagia with increasing number of surgical levels (aOR, 1.5 [95% CI, 1.09–2.07]; P = 0.01).
Prior thyroidectomy and number of spinal levels addressed during ACDF were identified as risk factors for postoperative otolaryngologic complications including dysphagia. Revision ACDF was not associated with increased odds of postoperative otolaryngologic symptoms or dysphagia.
Level of Evidence: 4