The Role of Cervical Muscles Morphology in the Surgical Treatment of Degenerative Disc Disease: Clinical Correlations Based on Magnetic Resonance Imaging Studies

Ioannis Siasios, Ethymia Samara, Aggeliki Fotiadou, Kalliopi Tsoleka, Konstantinos Vadikolias, Michael Mantatzis, Theodosis Birbilis


Cervical spine musculature still remains a less studied component of the cervical spine anatomical compartments, although it plays a significant role in the mobility of the head and the preservation of cervical spine alignment. The goal of this study was to extract any significant information from the literature regarding the role of cervical spine muscles morphology in the outcome of surgically treated patients for degenerative disc disease (DDD) based on preoperative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies. Eleven clinical case series were found, from which four were prospective and seven were retrospective. Six studies were concentrated on anterior approaches and five studies on posterior approaches in the cervical spine. In posterior approaches aiming at the preservation of muscles attachments and overall less surgical manipulations, results on cervical lordosis, axial pain and patients functionality were found superior to traditional laminectomies. The study of cross-sectional areas (CSAs) of deep paraspinal muscles in the cervical spine could add significant information for the spine surgeon such as the prediction of adjacent level disease (ALD), fusion failure, axial pain persistence, postoperative cervical alignment and patients postoperative functionality. It seems that MRI studies focusing on muscle layers of the cervical spine could add significant information for the spinal surgeon regarding the final surgical outcome in terms of pain and function expression. Larger multicenter clinical studies are a necessity in defining the role of the muscle component of the cervical spine in the surgical treatment of DDD.

J Clin Med Res. 2021;13(7):367-376


Cervical spine; Degenerative disease; Magnetic resonance imaging; Muscles

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