Chip Wade, Kaitlyn Armstrong, Corbit Franks, Thomas Andre. University of Mississippi, University, MS.

BACKGROUND: Military medical readiness plays a significant role in operational readiness. While the severity of combat-related trauma is evident, musculoskeletal injuries (MSK’s), are the largest medical threat deployment readiness, accounted for more than 60% of limited duty days in 2019. Across MSK’s, the spine (lumbosacral: 30%; cervical: 22%; thoracic: 10%) accounts for 62% of MSKs. While these statistics are undeniable, in the military population, there a tremendous economic impact in training, retaining, and deploying a service member. Return-to-duty (RTD) rates and length of time for the treatment protocols for spine surgery vary significantly in published research. Research suggests RTD rates between 3-17 months following elective traditional open lumbar and cervical spine surgery, with a RTD rate of 64% within 1 year. When examining minimally invasive lumbar spine surgery (MIS), 100% of military personal had a RTD within 3-months. Research has yet to examine the impact of MIS of the cervical spine on the RTD rates of active-duty military. METHODS: The current study prospectively examined surgical outcomes, return to duty, and patient-centric outcomes among 79 active duty or reserve military patients who underwent an outpatient minimally invasive cervical spine surgery (Laminotomy/Foraminotomy/Decompression) for the treatment of cervical spinal stenosis. RESULTS: Significant reductions in visual analog scale (VAS) (6.67 ± 1.69 to 3.36 ± 2.03) and neck disability index (NDI) (29.63 ± 10.58 to 13.62 ± 8.64) were observed from preoperative to postoperative time points. 77% (61 of 79 service members) RTD in less than 1 month. 19% (15 of 79 service members) RTD in 1-2 months and 4% (3 of 79 service members) RTD between 2-3 months. There was a significant difference between preoperative and postoperative VAS of 3.31 (p=0.003). NDI scores report a statistically significant difference of 16.01(p=0.003) from preoperative to postoperative. CONCLUSIONS: MIS has been shown to reduce tissue trauma and patient complications. MIS procedures have resulted in reducing postoperative stress responses and improving the recovery process following surgery. In the active-duty military population this plays an important role in return to duty quickness. Our findings suggest that MIS procedures on the cervical spine result in improved patient outcomes and reduced RTD time in active-duty military personnel.

This document is currently not available here.