The purpose of this study was to assess the role of the anterior cervical plate in the treatment of cervical spondylosis. Forty-three patients surgically treated for cervical spondylosis were reviewed. The technique for discectomy and fusion was the same for both groups (Smith-Robinson with autologous iliac crest bone graft). Group I consisted of 25 consecutive patients treated with anterior cervical discectomy, autograft fusion, and anterior cervical plate fixation (Morscher titanium hollow screw plate system). Group II consisted of 18 consecutive patients treated without plate fixation. The overall clinical results in this study were not improved with the use of anterior cervical plate fixation (Fisher's exact test, p > 0.05). The fusion rate of one-level cervical fusions was not improved with anterior cervical plate fixation (Fisher's exact test, p > 0.05). The overall graft complication rate (pseudoarthrosis plus delayed union plus graft collapse) in multilevel fusions was decreased with anterior cervical plate fixation (Fisher's exact test, p < 0.01). The cost effectiveness and risk versus benefit of anterior cervical plate fixation in the surgical treatment of cervical spondylosis require further investigation.
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