Strategies to Achieve Spinal Fusion in Multilevel Anterior Cervical Spine Surgery: An Overview

Michael H. McCarthy*, Joseph A. Weiner, Alpesh A. Patel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Anterior cervical fusion offers surgeons a safe and reliable surgical option for single-level and multilevel pathology; however, multilevel fusions pose a higher risk of complications than single-level fusions, including possible pseudoarthrosis, adjacent segment disease, sagittal imbalance, and construct subsidence. Various techniques can be used to mitigate risk in multilevel anterior cervical fusion. Questions/Purposes: We reviewed the literature to determine the best surgical strategies in multilevel anterior cervical fusion. Methods: We searched the PubMed database for articles published from January 1980 through July 2019. Two authors identified relevant articles and then manually screened them for others to include in this review. Results: We initially identified 1936 articles and included 48 in our review. We found that clinical outcomes of multilevel anterior cervical fusion can be optimized through the use of biologics and graft selection, the evaluation of pre-existing deformity, the assessment of comorbidities, and the selection of fusion levels. Meticulous surgical technique in conjunction with modern surgical tools, such as instrumentation and biologics, allow surgeons to address complex cervical problems while limiting morbidity and enhancing clinical outcomes. Conclusions: Multilevel anterior cervical fusions offer a relatively safe and reliable treatment option for both single-level and multilevel pathology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-161
Number of pages7
JournalHSS Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020


  • anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF)
  • current concepts
  • fusion
  • multilevel anterior cervical

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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