Headache relief is maintained 7 years after anterior cervical spine surgery: Post hoc analysis from a multicenter randomized clinical trial and cervicogenic headache hypothesis

Harjot Thind, Dinesh Ramanathan, Julius Ebinu, David J Copenhaver, Kee D. Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: To evaluate whether anterior cervical spine surgery offers sustained (7 years) relief in patients with cervicogenic headaches (CGHs), and evaluate the difference between cervical disc arthroplasty (CDA) and anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) for 1 and 2-level surgeries from a multicenter randomized clinical trial. Methods: A post hoc analysis was performed of 575 patients who underwent one or 2-level CDA or ACDF for symptomatic cervical spondylosis as part of a prospective randomized clinical trial. Assessment of pain and functional outcome was done with the Neck Disability Index (NDI) in the trial. We used the NDI headache component to assess headache outcome. Results: For both 1-and 2-level CDA and ACDF groups, there was significant headache improvement from preoperative baseline out to 7 years (p < 0.0001). For 1-level surgeries, headache improvement was similar for both groups at the 7-year point. For 2-level treatment, CDA patients had significantly improved headache scores versus ACDF patients at the 7-year point (p = 0.016). Conclusion: The headache improvement noted at early follow-up was sustained over the long-term period with ACDF and CDA populations. In the case of 2-level operations, CDA patients demonstrated significantly greater benefit compared to ACDF patients over the long-term. Sinuvertebral nerve irritation at the unco-vasculo-radicular junction and anterior dura may be the cause of CGH. Therefore, it is possible that improved cervical kinematics and preservation of range of motion at adjacent uncovertebral joints in CDA may contribute to the observed difference between the groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)365-373
Number of pages9
JournalNeurospine
Volume17
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2020

Keywords

  • Cervical spine surgery
  • Cervical vertebrae innervation
  • Cervicogenic headache

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology

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