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    The Effects of Perioperative Corticosteroids on Dysphagia Following Surgical Procedures Involving the Anterior Cervical Spine: A Prospective, Randomized, Controlled, Double-Blinded Clinical Trial. Cui Shari,Daffner Scott D,France John C,Emery Sanford E The Journal of bone and joint surgery. American volume BACKGROUND:Dysphagia is one of the most common complications of surgical procedures in the anterior cervical spine, and can persist up to 2 years postoperatively. Corticosteroids are relatively safe and inexpensive for treating various inflammatory conditions. Perioperative corticosteroid administration for anterior cervical spine procedures may effectively minimize postoperative dysphagia, potentially leading to better outcomes, decreased readmission rates, and improved patient satisfaction. The purpose of this study was to determine the efficacy of perioperative corticosteroids in decreasing the severity and duration of dysphagia following single-level and multilevel anterior cervical spine procedures. METHODS:Seventy-four patients undergoing elective anterior cervical surgical procedures for degenerative conditions were recruited. Patients with prior cervical procedures; with a diagnosis of fracture, malignancy, or infection; or requiring combined anterior-posterior procedures were excluded. Patients were randomized to perioperative intravenous dexamethasone or saline solution. Doses were administered before incision and at 8 and 16 hours postoperatively. Investigators and patients were blinded to the treatment throughout the study. Dysphagia outcomes were assessed with use of the Bazaz dysphagia scale and the Dysphagia Short Questionnaire (DSQ) at 1 day, 2 days, 1 week, 2 weeks, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, and 12 months postoperatively. Statistical analysis was performed comparing means and standard deviations; significance was set at p < 0.05. Clinical outcomes were measured with use of the Quality of Life-12 and Neck Disability Index. RESULTS:Sixty-four patients were included in the analysis. There were 49 anterior cervical discectomies and fusions, 8 corpectomies, 1 hybrid procedure (corpectomy and adjacent discectomy), and 6 single-level arthroplasties. Patients who received corticosteroids had significantly better dysphagia scores on both the Bazaz scale and DSQ at most time points up to 6 months postoperatively (p < 0.05). On subgroup analysis, patients with multilevel (≥2-level) fusion benefited significantly from corticosteroids on both scales, whereas those with single-level procedures did not. There were no short-term wound complications or infections, and length of stay and fusion rates were comparable. CONCLUSIONS:Perioperative administration of corticosteroids can reduce dysphagia symptoms following multilevel anterior cervical procedures. Benefit was noted immediately and up to 6 months postoperatively. There was no significant effect on short-term wound-healing, infection rates, length of stay, or fusion rates. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:Therapeutic Level I. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence. 10.2106/JBJS.19.00198
    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. Jenkins Tyler James,Nair Rueben,Bhatt Surabhi,Rosenthal Brett David,Savage Jason W,Hsu Wellington K,Patel Alpesh A The Journal of bone and joint surgery. American volume 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. 10.2106/JBJS.17.01540