No Difference in Neck Pain or Health-Related Quality Measures Between Patients With or Without Degenerative Cervical Spondylolisthesis

Ian David Kaye*, Arjun S. Sebastian, Scott C. Wagner, Nicholas Semenza, Daniel Bowles, Gregory D. Schroeder, Chris K. Kepler, Barret I. Woods, Kris E. Radcliff, Mark F. Kurd, Jeff Rihn, David Greg Anderson, Alan S. Hilibrand, Alexander R. Vaccaro

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Study Design: This study is a retrospective case control. Objectives: This study aims to determine whether cervical degenerative spondylolisthesis (DS) is associated with increased baseline neck/arm pain and inferior health quality states compared to a similar population without DS. Methods: Patient demographics, pre-operative radiographs, and baseline PROMs were reviewed for 315 patients undergoing anterior cervical decompression and fusion (ACDF) with at least 1 year of follow-up. Patients were categorized based on the presence (S) or absence of a spondylolisthesis (NS). Statistically significant variables were further explored using multiple linear regression analysis. Results: 49/242 (20%) patients were diagnosed with DS, most commonly at the C4–5 level (27/49). The S group was significantly older than the NS group (58.0 ± 10.7 vs 51.9 ± 9.81, P =.001), but otherwise, no demographic differences were identified. Although a higher degree of C2 slope was found among the S cohort (22.5 ± 8.63 vs 19.8 ± 7.78, P =.044), no differences were identified in terms of preoperative visual analogue scale (VAS) neck pain or NDI. In the univariate analysis, the NS group had significantly increased VAS arm pain relative to the S group (4.93 ± 3.16 vs 3.86 ± 3.30, P =.045), which was no longer significant in the multivariate analysis. Conclusions: Although previous reports have suggested an association between cervical DS and neck pain, we could not associate the presence of DS with increased baseline neck or arm pain. Instead, DS appears to be a relatively frequent (20% in this series) age-related condition reflecting radiographic, rather than necessarily clinical, disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1641-1645
Number of pages5
JournalGlobal Spine Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • cervical
  • neck pain
  • patient-reported outcome
  • spondylolisthesis


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