This was a retrospective cohort study.

The goal of this study is to evaluate the outcomes of patients with cervical degenerative spondylolisthesis (DS) undergoing anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF), specifically comparing surgeries that include versus exclude the DS level.

DS has been extensively studied in the lumbar spine associated with both back and leg pain leading to worse patient quality of life measures. Conversely, there is a relative dearth of literature regarding surgical and clinical outcomes in the setting of cervical DS.

A total of 315 patients undergoing ACDF between 2014 and 2018 with minimum of 1-year postoperative patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) were retrospectively reviewed. Forty-six patients were found to have DS and were categorized based on whether an ACDF was performed at the same level (SL) or at a different level (DL) than the spondylolisthesis. Patient demographics, surgical parameters, preoperative and postoperative radiographs, and PROMs were compared between groups.

Of the 315 patients, a total of 46 met the inclusion criteria including 21 SL and 25 DL patients. There were no significant differences in patient demographics between the groups. The SL cohort had a significantly worse preoperative sagittal vertical axis (SL: 34.4 vs. 26.1, P=0.025) but no difference in postoperative or delta sagittal vertical axis. Both patient cohorts reported significant postoperative improvement in all PROMs, except Short-Form 12 Mental Component Score in the SL group. There were no differences between the groups regarding Visual Analog Scale Neck, Visual Analog Scale Arm, Neck Disability Index, or Short-Form 12 Physical Component Score. Regression analysis demonstrated SL to be a significant negative predictor for improvement in Short-Form 12 Mental Component Score (β: -11.27, P=0.10).

Patients treated only at their neurologically symptomatic levels, excluding asymptomatic listhesis in their construct, can expect equivalent radiographic as well as physical function, disability, and pain outcomes 1 year after ACDF compared with patients whose listhetic level was included in their construct.

Level III.

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