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Degenerative cervical myelopathy - update and future directions


Badhiwala, Jetan H; Ahuja, Christopher S; Akbar, Muhammad A; Witiw, Christopher D; Nassiri, Farshad; Furlan, Julio C; Curt, Armin; Wilson, Jefferson R; Fehlings, Michael G (2020). Degenerative cervical myelopathy - update and future directions. Nature Reviews. Neurology, 16(2):108-124.

Abstract

Degenerative cervical myelopathy (DCM) is the leading cause of spinal cord dysfunction in adults worldwide. DCM encompasses various acquired (age-related) and congenital pathologies related to degeneration of the cervical spinal column, including hypertrophy and/or calcification of the ligaments, intervertebral discs and osseous tissues. These pathologies narrow the spinal canal, leading to chronic spinal cord compression and disability. Owing to the ageing population, rates of DCM are increasing. Expeditious diagnosis and treatment of DCM are needed to avoid permanent disability. Over the past 10 years, advances in basic science and in translational and clinical research have improved our understanding of the pathophysiology of DCM and helped delineate evidence-based practices for diagnosis and treatment. Surgical decompression is recommended for moderate and severe DCM; the best strategy for mild myelopathy remains unclear. Next-generation quantitative microstructural MRI and neurophysiological recordings promise to enable quantification of spinal cord tissue damage and help predict clinical outcomes. Here, we provide a comprehensive, evidence-based review of DCM, including its definition, epidemiology, pathophysiology, clinical presentation, diagnosis and differential diagnosis, and non-operative and operative management. With this Review, we aim to equip physicians across broad disciplines with the knowledge necessary to make a timely diagnosis of DCM, recognize the clinical features that influence management and identify when urgent surgical intervention is warranted.

Abstract

Degenerative cervical myelopathy (DCM) is the leading cause of spinal cord dysfunction in adults worldwide. DCM encompasses various acquired (age-related) and congenital pathologies related to degeneration of the cervical spinal column, including hypertrophy and/or calcification of the ligaments, intervertebral discs and osseous tissues. These pathologies narrow the spinal canal, leading to chronic spinal cord compression and disability. Owing to the ageing population, rates of DCM are increasing. Expeditious diagnosis and treatment of DCM are needed to avoid permanent disability. Over the past 10 years, advances in basic science and in translational and clinical research have improved our understanding of the pathophysiology of DCM and helped delineate evidence-based practices for diagnosis and treatment. Surgical decompression is recommended for moderate and severe DCM; the best strategy for mild myelopathy remains unclear. Next-generation quantitative microstructural MRI and neurophysiological recordings promise to enable quantification of spinal cord tissue damage and help predict clinical outcomes. Here, we provide a comprehensive, evidence-based review of DCM, including its definition, epidemiology, pathophysiology, clinical presentation, diagnosis and differential diagnosis, and non-operative and operative management. With this Review, we aim to equip physicians across broad disciplines with the knowledge necessary to make a timely diagnosis of DCM, recognize the clinical features that influence management and identify when urgent surgical intervention is warranted.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, further contribution
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Balgrist University Hospital, Swiss Spinal Cord Injury Center
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Neurology (clinical)
Life Sciences > Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
Language:English
Date:February 2020
Deposited On:13 Mar 2020 09:58
Last Modified:29 Jul 2020 14:52
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:1759-4758
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1038/s41582-019-0303-0
PubMed ID:31974455

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