Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) is a common surgical intervention for radiculopathy resulting from degenerative cervical spine conditions. Post-surgical cervical collar use is believed to reduce post-operative pain, provide the patient with a sense of security during activities of daily living and even reduce rates of non-fusion. This prospective randomized controlled pilot trial investigates trial design feasibility in relation to prospective physical, functional, and quality of life-related outcomes of patients undergoing ACDF with interbody cage, with (n = 17) and without (n = 16) post-operative cervical collar usage. Results show that the sample provides sufficient statistical power to show that the use of a rigid cervical collar during 6 post-operative weeks is associated with significantly lower levels of neck disability index after 6 weeks and significantly lower levels of prospective neck pain. To investigate causal quality of life or fusion rate outcomes, sample size needs to be increased at least fourfold and optimally sixfold when accounting for data loss in prospective follow-up. The study suggests that post-surgical cervical collar usage may help certain patients cope with initial post-operative pain and disability.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/allan_abbott/6/