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Connection of discontinuous segments in early functional recovery from thoracic ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament treated with posterior instrumented surgery

Kei Ando, Kazuyoshi Kobayashi, Masaaki Machino, Kyotaro Ota, Satoshi Tanaka, Masayoshi Morozumi, Sadayuki Ito, Shunsuke Kanbara, Taro Inoue, Naoki Ishiguro, and Shiro Imagama


The objective of this study was to investigate the relationship between morphological changes in thoracic ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (T-OPLL) and postoperative neurological recovery after thoracic posterior fusion surgery. Changes of OPLL morphology and postoperative recovery in cases with T-OPLL have not been examined.


In this prospective study, the authors evaluated data from 44 patients (23 male and 21 female) who underwent posterior decompression and fusion surgery with instrumentation for the treatment of T-OPLL at our hospital. The patients’ mean age at surgery was 50.7 years (range 38–68 years). The minimum duration of follow-up was 2 years. The location of thoracic ossification of the ligamentum flavum (T-OLF), T-OLF at the OPLL level, OPLL morphology, fusion range, estimated blood loss, operative time, pre- and postoperative Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) scores, and JOA recovery rate were investigated. Reconstructed sagittal multislice CT images were obtained before and at 3 and 6 months and 1 and 2 years after surgery. The basic fusion area was 3 vertebrae above and below the OPLL lesion. All parameters were compared between patients with and without continuity across the disc space at the OPLL at 3 and 6 months after surgery.


The preoperative morphology of OPLL was discontinuous across the disc space between the rostral and caudal ossification regions on sagittal CT images in all but one of the patients. Postoperatively, these segments became continuous in 42 patients (97.7%; occurring by 6.6 months on average) without progression of OPLL thickness. Patients with continuity at 3 months had significantly lower rates of diabetes mellitus (p < 0.05) and motor palsy in the lower extremities (p < 0.01). The group with continuity also had significantly higher mean postoperative JOA scores at 3 (p < 0.01) and 6 (p < 0.05) months and mean JOA recovery rates at 3 and 6 months (both p < 0.01) after surgery.


Preoperatively, discontinuity of rostral and caudal ossified lesions was found on CT in all patients but one of this group of 44 patients who needed surgery for T-OPLL. Rigid fixation with instrumentation may have allowed these segments to connect at the OPLL. Such OPLL continuity at an early stage after surgery may accelerate spinal cord recovery.

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A new criterion for the alarm point using a combination of waveform amplitude and onset latency in Br(E)-MsEP monitoring in spine surgery

Kazuyoshi Kobayashi, Kei Ando, Ryuichi Shinjo, Kenyu Ito, Mikito Tsushima, Masayoshi Morozumi, Satoshi Tanaka, Masaaki Machino, Kyotaro Ota, Naoki Ishiguro, and Shiro Imagama


Monitoring of brain evoked muscle-action potentials (Br[E]-MsEPs) is a sensitive method that provides accurate periodic assessment of neurological status. However, occasionally this method gives a relatively high rate of false-positives, and thus hinders surgery. The alarm point is often defined based on a particular decrease in amplitude of a Br(E)-MsEP waveform, but waveform latency has not been widely examined. The purpose of this study was to evaluate onset latency in Br(E)-MsEP monitoring in spinal surgery and to examine the efficacy of an alarm point using a combination of amplitude and latency.


A single-center, retrospective study was performed in 83 patients who underwent spine surgery using intraoperative Br(E)-MsEP monitoring. A total of 1726 muscles in extremities were chosen for monitoring, and acceptable baseline Br(E)-MsEP responses were obtained from 1640 (95%). Onset latency was defined as the period from stimulation until the waveform was detected. Relationships of postoperative motor deficit with onset latency alone and in combination with a decrease in amplitude of ≥ 70% from baseline were examined.


Nine of the 83 patients had postoperative motor deficits. The delay of onset latency compared to the control waveform differed significantly between patients with and without these deficits (1.09% ± 0.06% vs 1.31% ± 0.14%, p < 0.01). In ROC analysis, an intraoperative 15% delay in latency from baseline had a sensitivity of 78% and a specificity of 96% for prediction of postoperative motor deficit. In further ROC analysis, a combination of a decrease in amplitude of ≥ 70% and delay of onset latency of ≥ 10% from baseline had sensitivity of 100%, specificity of 93%, a false positive rate of 7%, a false negative rate of 0%, a positive predictive value of 64%, and a negative predictive value of 100% for this prediction.


In spinal cord monitoring with intraoperative Br(E)-MsEP, an alarm point using a decrease in amplitude of ≥ 70% and delay in onset latency of ≥ 10% from baseline has high specificity that reduces false positive results.

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Characteristics and surgical results of the distal type of cervical spondylotic amyotrophy

Clinical article

Ryoji Tauchi, Shiro Imagama, Hidefumi Inoh, Yasutsugu Yukawa, Tokumi Kanemura, Koji Sato, Yoshihito Sakai, Mitsuhiro Kamiya, Hisatake Yoshihara, Zenya Ito, Kei Ando, Akio Muramoto, Hiroki Matsui, Tomohiro Matsumoto, Junichi Ukai, Kazuyoshi Kobayashi, Ryuichi Shinjo, Hiroaki Nakashima, Masayoshi Morozumi, and Naoki Ishiguro


Cervical spondylosis that causes upper-extremity muscle atrophy without gait disturbance is called cervical spondylotic amyotrophy (CSA). The distal type of CSA is characterized by weakness of the hand muscles. In this retrospective analysis, the authors describe the clinical features of the distal type of CSA and evaluate the results of surgical treatment.


The authors performed a retrospective review of 17 consecutive cases involving 16 men and 1 woman (mean age 56.3 years) who underwent surgical treatment for the distal type of CSA. The condition was diagnosed on the basis of cervical spondylosis in the presence of muscle impairment of the upper extremity (intrinsic muscle and/or finger extension muscles) without gait disturbance, and the presence of a compressive lesion involving the anterior horn of the spinal cord, the nerve root at the foramen, or both sites as seen on axial and sagittal views of MRI or CT myelography. The authors assessed spinal cord or nerve root impingement by MRI or CT myelography and evaluated surgical outcomes.


The preoperative duration of symptoms averaged 11.8 months. There were 14 patients with impingement of the anterior horn of the spinal cord and 3 patients with both anterior horn and nerve root impingement. Twelve patients were treated with laminoplasty (plus foraminotomy in 1 case), 3 patients were treated with anterior cervical discectomy and fusion, and 2 patients were treated with posterior spinal fixation. The mean manual muscle testing grade was 2.4 (range 1–4) preoperatively and 3.4 (range 1–5) postoperatively. The surgical results were excellent in 7 patients, good in 2, and fair in 8.


Most of the patients in this series of cases of the distal type of CSA suffered from impingement of the anterior horn of the spinal cord, and surgical outcome was fair in about half of the cases.