Four-level anterior cervical discectomy and fusions results following multilevel cervical fusion with a minimum 1-year follow-up

Megan M. Jack, Paige Lundy, Alan R. Reeves, Paul M. Arnold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Study Design: A retrospective review of prospectively collected case series. Objective: This is a retrospective review of prospectively collected data regarding the clinical outcomes, complications, and fusion rates of patients who underwent a 4-level (C3-C7) anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF). Summary of Background: The use of multilevel ACDF for cervical spondylosis has been controversial. The literature regarding fusion rates and outcomes have been variable. This study intends to evaluate the outcomes following multilevel ACDF in a large cohort of patients. Clinical Materials and Methods: Between 1994 and 2011, 60 patients underwent a 4-level ACDF by a single surgeon. All patients were followed for a minimum of 12 months, and outcome measures included neurological findings, presence or absence of radiographic fusion, and complication rates. All patients had radiographic documentation of spinal cord stenosis at 4 consecutive cervical levels as well as myelopathy and/or radiculopathy symptoms. Results: Forty-eight patients underwent a single anterior procedure, only 5 patients underwent concurrent anterior and posterior fusion, and 7 patients required a second posterior surgery due to new-onset or residual symptoms or hardware complications after undergoing ACDF. Patients most commonly presented with paresthesias and were diagnosed with cervical stenosis. Overall, 18.3% reported early postoperative dysphagia; however, only 2 patients continued to have mild dysphagia symptoms on long-term follow-up. Other complications included hardware failure (11), residual neck pain (7), residual paresthesias (6), new-onset weakness (3), neck hematoma (1), cellulitis (1), and C5 radiculopathy (1). Overall, 88.3% of patients reported improvement in initial symptoms. Nurick scores were significantly lower following 4-level ACDF. The radiographic fusion rate for all levels was 95%. No patients required reoperation for pseudarthrosis. Conclusion: In appropriate patients, 4-level ACDF is a safe, efficacious method for treating multilevel cervical spinal cord compression, with acceptable complication rates and the ability to achieve neurological improvement and high fusion rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E243-E247
JournalClinical spine surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion
  • Cervical myleopathy
  • Cervical spine
  • Cervical stenosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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