Study design: Retrospective multicenter study. Objectives: To investigate the neurological outcomes of older individuals treated with surgery versus conservative treatment for cervical spinal cord injury (CSCI) without bone injury. Setting: Thirty-three medical institutions in Japan. Methods: This study included 317 consecutive persons aged ≥65 years with CSCI without bone injury in participating institutes between 2010 and 2020. The participants were followed up for at least 6 months after the injury. Individuals were divided into surgery (n = 114) and conservative treatment (n = 203) groups. To compare neurological outcomes and complications between the groups, propensity score matching of the baseline factors (characteristics, comorbidities, and neurological function) was performed. Results: After propensity score matching, the surgery and conservative treatment groups comprised 89 individuals each. Surgery was performed at a median of 9.0 (3–17) days after CSCI. Baseline factors were comparable between groups, and the standardized difference in the covariates in the matched cohort was <10%. The American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) impairment scale grade and ASIA motor score (AMS) 6 months after injury and changes in the AMS from baseline to 6 months after injury were not significantly different between groups (P = 0.63, P = 0.24, and P = 0.75, respectively). Few participants who underwent surgery demonstrated perioperative complications such as dural tear (1.1%), surgical site infection (2.2%), and C5 palsy (5.6%). Conclusion: Conservative treatment is suggested to be a more favorable option for older individuals with CSCI without bone injuries, but this finding requires further validation.
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