In multisegment cervical arthrodeses, a common clinical dilemma for the surgeon is whether to extend the fusion past the cervicothoracic junction (CTJ). This meta-analysis compares clinical outcomes and radiologic parameters when crossing and not crossing the CTJ. Our outcomes of interest included overall reoperation, successful fusion, adjacent segment disease (ASD) leading to revision surgery, estimated blood loss (EBL), and length of stay (LOS). We also studied the postoperative change in radiologic parameters-cervical sagittal vertical axis, cervical lordosis, and T1 slope-and change in Neck Disability Index and neck pain in Visual Analog Scale. Thirteen studies with 1720 patients were included. There were 974 (56.6%) patients in the noncrossing group and 746 (43.4%) patients in the crossing group. Noncrossing was associated with a higher risk of overall reoperation (risk ratio= 1.56; 95% CI: 0.98-2.47) and ASD requiring revision surgery (risk ratio= 2.82; 95% CI: 1.33-5.98; number-needed-to-harm= 22). The noncrossing group had lower EBL by 175 mL and shorter LOS by 1 day; the latter finding was only trending toward statistical significance. Successful fusion and changes in cervical sagittal vertical axis, cervical lordosis, Neck Disability Index, and Visual Analog Scale were not different between the 2 groups at a statistically significant level. In multilevel cervical arthrodesis, not crossing the CTJ is associated with a higher risk of overall reoperation and ASD requiring reoperation than crossing the CTJ, along with lower EBL and LOS. Differences in successful fusion, patient-reported outcomes, and sagittal radiologic parameters were not significant.

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