Background. The objective of this retrospective study is to evaluate how neck pain is influenced by post-operative cervical alignment in patients operated for cervical spinal trauma.
Patients and methods. From January 2013 to June 2017, at our department we operated 34 patients with cervical spinal trauma, 22 males and 12 females. Age, sex, level and type of fractures, surgical approach, fixation levels (cervical or cervico-dorsal), preoperative and postoperative CT scan, cervical (C2-C7) Cobb angle (lordotic > +10°, straight 0 /+10°, kyphotic < 0°) at X-rays on sitting position 3 months after surgery, postoperative self-reported neck stiffness scale, preoperative and follow-up ASIA score, pre and postoperative VAS value were evaluated for each patient. Statistical analysis was performed according to the Mann-Whitney and T-test.
Results. In this series, 22 patients were operated by anterior approach, 7 patients by posterior approach and 5 by combined approach. Postoperative chronic cervical pain was not correlated with cervical sagittal alignment after surgery, fracture type, surgical approach, fixation level and postoperative ASIA score but is correlated with the presence of neck stiffness (P=0,001). Patients treated with posterior approach (P=0,022) and fracture type C (P=0,026) had higher significantly neck stiffness compared to patients who underwent anterior approach for type B fractures.
Conclusions. The presence of abnormal cervical lordosis after surgery for cervical spinal trauma does not correlate with neck pain. Patients treated with posterior fixation had higher neck stiffness and related chronic pain.