The effect of local versus intravenous corticosteroids on the likelihood of dysphagia and dysphonia following anterior cervical discectomy and fusion a single-blinded, prospective, randomized controlled trial

Tyler James Jenkins*, Rueben Nair, Surabhi Bhatt, Brett David Rosenthal, Jason W. Savage, Wellington K. Hsu, Alpesh A. Patel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Dysphagia and dysphonia are the most common postoperative complications following anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF). Although most postoperative dysphagia is mild and transient, severe dysphagia can have profound effects on overall patient health and on surgical outcomes. The purpose of this study was to compare the efficacy of local to intravenous (IV) steroid administration during ACDF on postoperative dysphagia and dysphonia. Methods: This was a single-blinded, prospective, randomized clinical trial. Seventy-five patients undergoing ACDF with cervical plating were randomized into 3 groups: control (no steroid), IV steroid (10 mg of IV dexamethasone at the time of closure), or local steroid (40 mg of local triamcinolone). Patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) were collected for dysphagia, dysphonia, and neck pain postoperatively for 1 year. Results: Patient demographics were similar. Postoperative day 1 PROMs showed significantly lower scores for dysphonia (p = 0.015) and neck pain (p = 0.034) in the local steroid group. At 2 weeks postoperatively, the local steroid cohort showed significantly decreased prevalence of severe dysphagia (Eating Assessment Tool-10 [EAT-10], severe dysphagia p = 0.027) compared with the control and IV steroid groups. Both steroid groups had significantly less severe dysphagia when compared with the control group at the 6-week and 3-month time points. At 1 year postoperatively, both steroid groups had significantly reduced dysphagia rates (p = 0.014) compared with the control group. Conclusions: Both local and IV steroid administration after cervical plating in ACDF yielded better PROMs for dysphagia compared with a control group. This finding is particularly evident in the reduced number of patients who reported severe dysphagia symptoms following ACDF with local steroid application within the first 2 postoperative weeks. Future studies should attempt to stratify dysphagia severity when reporting outcomes related to anterior cervical spine surgery. Level of Evidence: Therapeutic Level I. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1461-1472
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Bone and Joint Surgery - American Volume
Volume100
Issue number17
DOIs
StatePublished - 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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