Circumferential cervical surgery: To stage or not to stage?

Ran Harel, Roy Hwang, Malik Fakhar, Michael P. Steinmetz, Eric Novak, Jeffrey C. Wang, Thomas E. Mroz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Study Design: Retrospective review. Objective: The objective of the study was to determine the morbidity and mortality rate associated with same day versus staged cervical circumferential approach. Summary of Background Data: A combined approach to the cervical spine is often indicated for complex cervical pathologies. Previous studies suggested superior results associated with same day combined surgery for thoracolumbar patients. This study examines the usefulness of p-Physiological and Operative Severity Score for enumeration of Morbidity and Mortality (POSSUM), an estimated mortality risk assessment for cervical spine patients and will compare same day surgery to staged procedures. Methods: This is a retrospective chart review including patients who underwent ventral and dorsal approach within 2 weeks. Estimated mortality was calculated using p-POSSUM. The cohort was divided into same day surgery group and staged group. Risk factors were compared between groups. Mean p-POSSUM was calculated and compared with the actual mortality rate. Univariate analysis was used to compare the risk factors between groups and the groups' outcomes. Multivariable analysis was used to adjust for risk factor differences when comparing group outcomes. Results: One hundred thirty-five patients were included, 106 patients were in the same day surgery group whereas 29 patients were in the staged group. Mean p-POSSUM was 2.8% predicted mortality with a 95% confidence interval of 1.6% to 4.1%. The actual mortality rate was 3.7%. The groups did not vary in most risk factors assessed. Univariate analysis demonstrated a statistically significantly higher rate of major complications (0.62 vs. 0.34, P=0.0369), infection (41.4% vs. 9.4%, P<0.0001), and length of hospital stay (9.3 vs. 6.8 d, P=0.0120) in the staged group. Multivariable analysis demonstrated significantly higher infection rate in the staged group. Conclusions: P-POSSUM mortality estimate may serve as a useful and valid tool for spine surgery studies. Staged combined cervical surgery harbors a higher complication rate and may be associated with lengthier hospitalization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-188
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Spinal Disorders and Techniques
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Cervical spine
  • Combined approach
  • Complications
  • Risk assessment
  • Spine surgery


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